Cape Town school removes gender from hair & jewellery regulations

Westerford High School

Westerford High School

A Cape Town high school has taken a step forward when it comes to gender equality with a new gender neutral hair and jewellery regulations.

According to News24, Westerford High School’s governing body decided two weeks ago to remove any reference to gender in the policy.

For the first time, boys will be allowed to wear long hair in ponytails and ‘manbuns’, as well as a single stud or sleeper in each ear. (There are also no restrictions on braids, cornrows and afros.)

The only proviso is that all hairstyles must be “neat and tidy,” said Principal Rob le Roux.

The policy was revised in consultation with parent and students. “There was encouragement that we are bold, progressive and listening to children,” Le Roux said.

A number of South African schools have faced controversy when LGBT pupils have worn uniforms that school officials do not believe are appropriate to their gender.

In March, a young lesbian woman in North West was barred from attending school because she refused to wear a skirt. The province’s Department of Education was forced to intervene in the situation to ensure the girl’s right to an education was enforced.

This week, the SA Human Rights Commission announced it was taking a Limpopo school to the Equality Court over its treatment of a transgender pupil.

It is unconstitutional for a school to bar any pupil from wearing a uniform that the learner believes accurately reflects their true gender identity.

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