A STUDENT who won an £8,500 payout after she was sent home from school because of her afro has said she wants schools to improve uniform policies.
Ruby Williams was a student at The Urswick School in east London when she was repeatedly made to leave the premises because of the way her natural hair was styled.
“Afro style hair must be of reasonable size and length”
Williams, now 18, was sent home multiple times between Year 10 and 11 when she was studying for her GCSEs.
She was told that her hair was in breach of the school’s policy, which stated that “afro style hair must be of reasonable size and length”.
It was also claimed that her hair blocked other pupils from seeing the whiteboard.
Williams told BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat that she believed schools need “better guidelines on their uniform policy so that people can’t be discriminated against when they’re walking into school”.
The student, who spent years straightening her hair before wearing it to school in its natural state, added: “I’d also like to hope that this story gives confidence to those who might be staying quiet about a similar situation.”
The wording of the school’s uniform policy changed after a complaint.
It now states that “hair styles should be reasonable and not impact on other students”.
The Urswick School has denied that it was discriminatory.
Earlier this week it was revealed that Williams was awarded an £8,500 out-of-court settlement as a result of legal action her family, with support from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, took.
“This cannot keep happening to children with afro hair. They are having their hair policed by people who don’t understand it or its significance. It is part of their identity and heritage,” The Independent reported Williams’ mother Kate said.
Williams father, Lenny, told BBC 5 Live: “As a Rastaman who doesn’t cut his hair, it was a shock to be told, you know, your daughter’s naturalness is unacceptable.”
In a statement the school’s governing body said: “The governing body is hugely distressed if any child or family feels we have discriminated against them. We do not accept that the school has discriminated, even unintentionally against any individual or group.”