By Owen Sheppard, Local Democracy Reporter
Students have labelled as “racist” a central London school’s uniform policy over new rules that it is claimed would penalise children who have afro hairstyles.
Sixth form students and parents at Pimlico Academy in Lupus Street were shocked after receiving news in a letter sent out in mid-August that a strict new uniform policy would be imposed.
The new policy also requires boys and girls to sport “formal business suits”, whereas they were previously allowed to wear chinos and a collared casual shirt.
An online petition calling for the changes to be scrapped has received more than 1,140 signatures.
It comes after Daniel Smith, the Westminster school’s new principal designate, took over in July.
The uniform policy clearly states that hairstyles that “block the views of others” will not be permitted.
A spokesman for the school said: “The rationale for this is self-explanatory and doesn’t relate to any specific hairstyle.”
And he said the new policy reflects a “professional environment”.
But the policy has antagonised a number of Year 12 and 13 students from black backgrounds who have afros.
One sixth form student who has an afro said: “It’s totally unnecessary.
“People want to be able to present themselves in a certain way. But they are just adding stuff in and it’s oppressive.
“A lot of us signed up to Pimlico Academy’s sixth form knowing that there wasn’t a policy, and now that’s being taken away.”
A female student added: “(The new policy) is racist because it says haircuts that ‘block views’, but that implies afros.
“It’s meant to represent the workplace but this is more strict than any normal office.”
In February this year, the family of a girl in Hackney successfully sued her school after teachers repeatedly sent her home for turning up with an afro hairstyle.
The Independent newspaper reported that her claim, that she had been discriminated against on the basis of race, was backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
In 2018, Fulham Boys School told a pupil, who it had banned because of his dreadlocks, that he could return without having to cut his hair following legal action funded by the EHRC.
Pictured top: Pimlico Academy
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