by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Hair Policy for students attending schools in St. Kitts and Nevis is currently under review, and according to the Federal Minister of Education, Hon. Dr Geoffery Hanley, Attorney General Garth Wilkin is currently reviewing the proposal presented to him as the amended Hair Policy.
“We are changing the Hair Policy in St. Kitts and Nevis from September. No longer would children leaving Preschool have to cut their hair to get into Kindergarten. However, I must say, with every change, there will be rules, and we’re going to govern ourselves accordingly. I will come back and address the nation as to the final package as to what [we] must expect, but I say it now so that those young men who feel like they want their hair braided, they don’t have to cut their hair in the Summer to go to school in September” said the Minister of Education.
Ahead of the 2022-2023 school year, the Hair Policy in St. Kitts and Nevis garnered much public discourse. Parents, Guardians and some Educators disagreed with the policy and, in some cases, asked that the policy be reviewed.
Nevisian educator Dr Andrea Bussue expressed, “Not only are the rules discriminatory, such as no wearing of wigs or weaves, but they are also downright ridiculous.”
Dr Bussue further expressed, “Our hair is our crowning beauty. Why not teach our children to love their hair? Regulating hairstyles is a complete waste of time. Support creativity. Think outside the box. Embrace differences. Yes, even in hair. Refrain the urge of restricting others’ hairstyles because of your personal preferences.”
The general hair policy for many years restricted females from wearing hair extensions and certain hair apparel and also restricted males from growing and plaiting their hair. While provisions allowed some students to wear their hair however they saw fit, the guidelines were not balanced and left a lot of room for questions.
Many parents questioned, “What does a hairstyle have to do with a child’s brain, or how does a child’s hairstyle prevent him or her from learning?”
Some, showing empathy for girls who have issues with hair growth, suggested that allowing hair extensions would make their hair more neat and tidy and would also give the child some confidence.
On the other hand, some people questioned whether or not the students will take advantage of a new hair policy, expressing concerns that some children may attend schools with excessive hairstyles that are not age appropriate and specifically for the girls, they could potentially lack the embrace of their natural hair.
The hair policy update is expected to be released to the public before the start of the academic year 2023-2024.