The Crowthorne Christian Academy, located in Midrand, has found itself at the centre of a controversy revolving around a schoolgirl who was forcibly removed from the premises due to wearing dreadlocks, reportedly violating the school’s hair policy. As a result, the academy has been indefinitely closed.
This dispute has shed light on the school’s stance on dreadlocks, which is against their hair policy. The closure announcement was communicated to parents via text, indicating an indefinite shutdown of the institution as reported by IOL.
Reports reveal that the school lacked registration with the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE). According to GDE spokesperson Steve Mabona, the 13-year-old pupil was offered alternative educational options and counselling. The department is actively aiding the school in achieving compliance and is encouraging all unregistered establishments to engage with the department for guidance on the registration process.
The effort to contact the school remained unanswered on Thursday morning, adding to the uncertainty of the situation. Simultaneously, parents were informed that a comprehensive explanation would be forthcoming after the school’s abrupt closure on Wednesday, coinciding with the presence of EFF supporters who gathered at the institution.
EFF’s Gauteng provincial deputy chairperson, Phillip Daniel, emphasised the party’s intolerance toward unjust policies, particularly those that exhibit signs of racism. This comes in response to the school removing the 13-year-old pupil based on her dreadlocks.
Amidst this turmoil, EFF supporters conducted protests outside the school’s gates, closely monitored by security and law enforcement. Even though the school was closed, the protesters persisted in expressing their concerns.
Amid the controversy, a viral video emerged on social media depicting an incident involving school principal Tanya Booysen and a man believed to be her husband, preventing a pupil with dreadlocks from attending class. The pupil’s parents captured the incident on camera after the school instructed their child to leave and remove her dreadlocks.
The school’s hair policy, shared across social media, stipulates various guidelines for children’s hair. It emphasises cleanliness and neatness and only permits natural hair. The policy details approved hairstyles for girls and boys and restrictions on hair accessories.
The pupil’s sister took to social media to share exchanges between her family and the school, highlighting the school’s repeated requests for the pupil to remove her dreadlocks since the end of July. The parents remained steadfast, asserting that dreadlocks are a natural hairstyle.
Principal Booysen maintained that the pupil must remove the extensions and adhere to the code of conduct before returning. In response, the parent countered that there were no extensions and that the pupil’s hair was her natural black hair.
Adding a legal dimension, Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Dimakatso Nevhuhulwi confirmed that a case of common assault was under investigation following a complaint. However, no arrests have been made in connection with the incident.
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Photo: Twitter / @EFF Gauteng