Gadsby-Dolly criticised over new hairstyle rules

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly. – Angelo Marcelle

OPPOSITION Senator David Nahkid has criticised Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly about the new national hair code which her ministry intends to implement in the new academic year starting in September.

Nahkid also criticised the Prime Minister for what he described as attempts by Dr Rowley to use race to deflect attention away from the performance of his government.

He made these criticisms during the Opposition’s weekly Sunday news conference at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Port of Spain.

In a statement on June 30, the Trinity Board of Governors said reports claiming that a group of Trinity College students were not allowed to graduate with their peers at a valedictory service at All Saints Anglican Church in Port of Spain on June 27, due to their hairstyles, were wrong.

Opposition Senator David Nakhid. – AYANNA KINSALE

“The students who failed to comply with the school uniform policy, hairstyle or otherwise, regardless of ethnicity, were seated in the side chapel, within the body of the church and received their certificates, at the event, after the vote of thanks.”

The board accepted that some people may not agree with this rule.

“While acknowledging the various perspectives and views surrounding the uniform policy, we stand firm that acceptable conduct dictates that existing rules and regulations must be followed until and unless they are altered or amended.”

Gadsby-Dolly described this incident as unfortunate.

In a subsequent statement, the ministry said individual schools would be mandated to form a committee to determine their school hair rules, which must align with the national code.

“This committee will comprise representatives of students, staff and parents. Schools should formulate their school hair rules by October 2023, a copy of which must be submitted to the line school supervisor before they are effected.”

In the interim, no student should be penalised on the basis of a hairstyle, once they are in conformity with the national code, the minister said.

“All parents and students should be sensitised by the school’s administration about the implementation of the school hair rules before they are effected.”

Gadsby-Dolly said the ministry would continue to collaborate and engage with stakeholders in the education system on updates and upgrades in school operations and policies to improve the effectiveness of the educational sector.

Referring to the different hairstyles that Gadsby-Dolly has used since being elected to Parliament in 2015, Nakhid claimed her comments were hypocritical.

“You (Gadsby-Dolly) display someone else’s hairstyle and saying you are African.”

He said the UNC and its political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar fully supports the Trinity College students who had to graduate separately from their peers, due to their non-conforming with the school’s dress code.

“We (UNC) don’t believe in following rules that are stupid.”

Nakhid also claimed that Rowley was continuously using race to distract attention away from the failing of the PNM. “You can’t feed TT a boiling pot of race,” Nakhid declared.

Nakhid believed that the public would see through Rowley’s tactics and wholeheartedly vote for the UNC in the August 14 local government elections.