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Row as school demands Rastafarian boy cut off dreadlocks as part of uniform policy

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 6 days ago ANNA DAVIS

© Provided by Independent Print Limited A London free school is embroiled in a row after demanding a Rastafarian boy cut off his dreadlocks to adhere to the uniform policy.

Chikayzea Flanders, 12, is being taught in isolation at Fulham Boys School after turning up on his first day with the banned hairstyle.

The school said its uniform policy is well known and the strict rules are part of the school’s appeal.

But the boy’s mother, Tuesday Flanders, claimed the demand is religious discrimination and an attack on her Rastafarian culture.

She said she tied up her son’s hair so it did not breach the school’s policy on hair length, but received a phone call on his first day saying it must be cut.

Headmaster Alan Ebenezer said: “Boys cannot have hair longer than their collar or shorter than a number two. They can’t have braids or dreadlocks — it is on our website for everyone to see. Ofsted has seen the policy and whenever I speak in public I mention it. Because the school is so strict is why we are so oversubscribed. We are treating this as a cultural thing at the moment and taking advice on it.”

Mrs Flanders said her son has dreadlocked hair because he is a Rastafarian, and it is not a fashion choice.

She told the website getwestlondon: “I don’t intend to cut my son’s hair. It’s my belief, my family’s belief. We have been Rastafarians for 30 to 40 years.

“No school should be able to dictate things like that. It’s a human right.”

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