Ministry of Education Addresses Student’s Hair-Length Controversy
The minister also weighed in on an incident earlier this month surrounding a student who claimed he was being denied his education due to the length of his hair. Corozal resident, Shadir Manzanero took to social media and shared his story of being denied enrolment at the Belize Adventist Junior College due to having long hair. Manzanero’s situation rehashed the discussion surrounding students being denied entry into schools due to the length of their hair. Fonseca explained that the Ministry of Education has a policy on hair but also understands the rules implemented by individual schools.
Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “We have these isolated cases the recent one I’m aware of, but we do have a policy. The ministry, I think last year or so when we had one or two cases, the ministry put out a very strong statement, policy statement, stating very clearly our position on this matter. It’s unconstitutional. Whenever these cases arise we immediately address them and resolve them to the satisfaction of all parties involved. So, you know, I don’t think that it’s fair to say there’s no policy. There’s a very clear policy. Some schools from time to time violate that policy and we call them out and we deal with them but at the same time, at the same time people have to understand, yes, that schools do have the right to have certain rules and guidelines if you want to attend, but the length of your hair or your hairstyle is not one of them. Because some people want to throw out everything “oh school free for all.” that’s not the case. It cannot be a free for all. No, we deal with them by calling them in and making it very clear to them. If this is repeated, there will be penalties. So we have to work with the schools. In many cases it’s a particular, we find out when we investigate these things it’s not the school administration, it’s a teacher in a classroom enforcing their own rules. So that sort of thing we try to address and make sure that we meet with them and educate them about the policy of the Ministry of Education.”