The Melbourne twins who were ordered to unbraid their beard accept been offered a “school compatible exemption”.
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Amid a storm of controversy, Helene Hiotis, the arch of Bentleigh Secondary College, said on Friday that she would assignment with the students’ ancestors so the girls could abrasion their “new braided hairstyle” to school.
“We are a affable academy and I am actually adequate with acceptance cogent their cultural heritage,” Ms Hiotis said.
It came as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission warned that some academy compatible behavior bootless to annual students’ diversity.
“While Victorian law allows schools and educational authorities to set reasonable standards of dress, schools charge antithesis this with their obligations beneath law not to discriminate on the base of chase or concrete features,” Commissioner Kristen Hilton said.
Year 11 acceptance Grace and Tahbisa batten out afterwards they were asked to abolish their braids, which they say are a able allotment of their South Sudanese identity.
The academy approved to absolve its position by adage that white acceptance who accept alternate from holidays in Bali accept additionally been asked to abolish their braids.
Ms Hilton said there was a “clear difference” amid acceptance whose hairstyle connects them to their ability and those “who accept gotten braids or cornrows on an across holiday”.
“Schools are extensions of our society. They should be appreciative to advance their assortment and bless the abounding cultures that accomplish up our society.”
Fairfax Media has been inundated with letters of abutment for the 16-year-old twins, including offers of acknowledged assistance.
One mother said her African-Australian son had a agnate acquaintance while accessory a Sydney academy and was threatened with banishment if he retained his cornrows.
But afterwards removing his cornrows, which helped the adolescent man maintain a affiliation to his culture, the academy complained that his afro was “too big”.
“I rang the arch who banned to booty [my son’s] African character into application and said we can leave the academy or fit in with ‘all the added kids’ … acceptation white kids,” she wrote.
Grace and Tahbisa were also supported by friends and agents back they showed up to academy on Friday, proudly cutting their braids.
Grace said she acquainted adequate about speaking out.
“I am blessed bodies are talking about it and apperceive that it is wrong,” she said. She said atramentous acceptance should not accept to administer for exemptions in adjustment to abrasion their beard in braids. “The rules should change.”
Maurice Blackburn chief accessory Jennifer Kanis said schools bare to booty into annual the appulse of absolute rules on assertive groups of students.
“Indirect bigotry looks at area a acutely aloof or absolute aphorism that applies to anybody [can] disproportionately discriminate adjoin a group,” she said.
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