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Fulham schoolboy dreadlock ban overturned

PICTURED: Chikayzea Flanders

CHIKAYZEA FLANDERS, the 12-year-old boy who was banned from a west London school because of his dreadlocks, has been told he can return without having to cut his hair.

The pupil who formerly attended Fulham Boys School, was told he would have to cut off his dreadlocks or face suspension last year.

His mother, Tuesday Flanders, took the school to court, calling the demand an attack on her Rastafarian religion.

“It’s my belief, my family’s belief. We have been Rastafarians for 30 to 40 years," said Ms Flanders. "No school should be able to dictate things like that. It can never be right. It’s a human right.”

The family have now reached an agreement with Fulham Boys School, despite the fact that Chikayzea has since moved to a new school.

The 12-year-old has been told he is welcome to return "provided that his dreadlocks are tied up so that they do not touch the top of his collar, or covered with a cloth of colour to be agreed by the school".

Speaking on the news, Ms Flanders said: "As parents we place our trust in schools and teachers to help mould our children's lives through education.

"But that should never place restrictions on their identity or their ability to express their religious beliefs."

Fulham Boys School describes itself as being built on Christian values, and having a strict uniform and appearance policy.

Head teacher Alun Ebenezer said the school was strict in all aspects, including hair, appearance, standards and behaviour, and that it had students from a number of backgrounds.

A Governors' Complaints Resolution Committee recommended that the school should review its Uniform and Appearance Policy against applicable legislation.

David Isaac, chair at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, who helped fund legal action against Fulham Boys School, said: "We are pleased that the school has acknowledged their failings in this instance and has agreed to revise its policies."

The County Court ordered the school to pay Chikayzea and his mother a settlement and cover the litigation costs, following the agreement.

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