A father has sued the Education ministry and Olympic High School in Kibra seeking to compel them to admit his daughter to Form One without shaving her dreadlocks.
The man says his daughter wears dreadlocks as part of her Rastafarian religion and not as a fashion statement and should therefore not be compelled to shave them off.
The minor was sent away on January 10 despite having paid school fees.
She was allegedly condemned for having dreadlocks and was directed that she only comes back after shaving.
The father in the suit papers says the action of the school amounts to discrimination on the basis of her Rastafarian beliefs.
Article 30 (1) of the Constitution states that Every person has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion.
“Every person has the right, either individually or in community with others, in public or in private, to manifest any religion or belief through worship, practice, teaching or observance, including observance of a day of worship,” Article 30(2) states.
In 2014, High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi ruled schools have a right to set rules for the conduct of their students in a petition filed against Rusinga School by a parent.
The parent’s six-year-old son was told to cut off his dreadlocks and had petitioned the order, but lost.
In a judgment at the High Court in Nairobi on October 7, Ngugi dismissed the case, saying the boy failed to convince court that his culture and religious rights had been denied.
She said it was obvious the boy’s mother wanted him to wear dreadlocks for fashion and not religious reasons as she had alleged.
Ngugi said the mother was well aware, since she enrolled him at the school’s kindergarten in 2010, that dreadlocks are forbidden for boys.
She said the mother signed Rusinga’s code of conduct agreeing to observe rules and regulations.
Ngugi went on to say, “The petitioner has not shown this court that the child practices Rastafarian religion, had she proved this, she could have persuaded this court.”
Read: Schools have a right to set rules for the conduct of their students
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