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Attorney Says Schools Violated the Rights of the Boy with Dreadlocks

Yesterday we told you about the story of a Rastafarian boy who was rejected by two schools in Ladyville Village because of his dreadlocks. The boy’s father, Kevin Pollard, told Love News that he explained to the schools’ management that his son’s long hair is part of his family’s religious belief. Both Ladyville Evangelical Primary School and Ladyville Seventh Day Adventist Primary School denied comment. Attorney Orson “OJ” Elrington told Love News that the child’s constitutional right was violated. 

Orson “OJ” Elrington, Attorney: “The law is very clear on the position in regards to the wearing of dreadlocks. I believe that there was a recent decision involving the police officer which clearly makes it clear that you cannot discriminate based on the fact that someone has dreadlocks. This is trite and true law and has been enunciated across the Caribbean over and over again and so it is clearly a violation of the constitutional right of the young man to be denied an education. I would hope that the school would reconsider and ensure that this young child is allowed to have their education and not be inhibited in any way because of the hairstyle of lifestyle chosen by the parents.”

Elrington says that the schools’ decision has opened the door for a civil suit. 

Reporter: Can the management of the schools be sued ? 

Orson “OJ” Elrington, Attorney: “Well again in Belize there is this public/private partnership and they are a public entity a public authority and therefore are subject to the laws of Belize and they can violate the rights of individuals so yes they most certainly can be sued for violating the constitutional right of the young man if they persist in denying him the right to an education.”

Reporter: But the school as it says in its handbook or whatever policy they are a religious school with a religious set of rules not in line with the parents or the boy’s religious beliefs. 

Orson “OJ” Elrington, Attorney:  “That cannot supercede the child’s constitutional right. The constitution is supreme in Belize and no set of morals, no set of principles can supercede what is the legal authority of the constitution. If the school wants to decide that they want to live by their absolute own set of rules then they no longer can accept public funding that is the only time in which you can act as a private citizen act if you have absolutely no type of public funding whatsoever. They are a public authority under the law, the case of Roches makes that absolutely clear.”