Student with braided hair sent home

Tuesday 8 June 2021 | Written by Alana Musselle | Published in Education, National


A Year Nine female student from Tereora College was last week told by one of her teachers not to return to school until her braided hair extensions were taken out.

The student had returned to school after a two-week holiday in New Zealand with her family where she got her hair braided.

The school rules, that the student’s parents were briefed on before enrolling their daughter at Tereora College, included no artificial hair colouring, no coloured nail polish, and that long hair must be plaited. Being aware of this they ensured that her braids were tied back into a plait.

The student was told that she was “breaching the school rules” and that she must stay home until her braids are taken out and her hair is tied in an ordinary plait.

She has complied with the requirement and returned to school.

But her mum, who wished to remain anonymous, said she doesn't understand why such an extreme focus is being put on her daughter’s hair.

“As far as the rules are concerned, we haven’t broken any.” 

A lot of time and money was spent on her daughter’s braids, the parent explained. She said the bigger focus should be on her daughter’s education.

“If we were given the opportunity to see the rules in fine print and know that she is just not being picked on for the sake of it then that would make the situation better … she was just blatantly told to stay home until her braids are taken out.”

Tania Morgan, principal of Tereora College, said that the school guidelines regarding the dress code is made available and is a signed agreement between parents and students upon enrolment.

Tereora College welcomes input from the community regarding the school’s dress which reflects the wishes of the community, says Morgan.

“We welcome the input from our community and there is a process for this through our AGM (annual general meeting) and PTA (Parents Teachers Association),” said Morgan.

Morgan also organised an attempt to reach out to the parent and has offered to clarify the school rules for her in a meeting.