Rastafarian student from Olympic High School ‘was denied her rights’
Olympic High School has been ordered to reinstate Rastafarian student who was sent home in January.
The High Court on Friday ruled that the school violated the student’s rights to education and freedom of religion.
“The rule that she cuts her hair is intrusive to her religion and not justifiable in a democratic country,” Justice Chacha Mwita said.
The child’s father moved to court on January 14, 2019 and sued the school’s Board of Governors for sending home the Form One girl when she reported.
According to the father all his family members are Rastafarians and they are forbidden by the Bible from cutting their hair.
However, the school had argued that their status as a public institution meant that she was admitted strictly in accordance to the rules and regulations that the parent signed.
They revealed that during her admission, the parents stated that she was a Muslim but when she was given uniform, the hijab fell off and they realised she had rastas.
On Friday, the judge noted that the right to education and freedom of religion supersedes a school’s regulations.
“School rules stand in her way to religion and education…the school rules have been applied in manner to deny her to receiver her education violates the article to the right to her religion,” he said.
The court further averred that it is an offence for any parent to deny their child education so the parents were within their rights to take the girl to school.
Refusing to take a child to school is a criminal offence under Kenyan law and attracts a fine of Ksh. 100,000 or one year jail term.
“The fact that she keeps rastas should not have been the basis to chase her from school,” the judge said reiterating that school rules should not appear to be superior to the constitution.
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