SAHRC investigates St Michaels neatness test


The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has launched an investigation into a “neatness test” that highlighted the hair policy of St Michael’s School for Girls (SMS) in Bloemfontein. Leaners and parents then staged a protest outside the school last month. Their refusal to attend classes and outcries from some parents prompted intervention by the Free State Education department. The school conducted a “neatness test” amid a national debate in the media and social media on “policing” of “black learners’ hair that was sparked by learners at Pretoria Girls High School. ST Michael’s, that has since revised its policy, at first deemed learners whose hair do not fit under a swimming cap in violation of the school’s code of conduct. SAHRC Provincial Manger Buang Jones says a formal notice setting out the allegations was sent to the school. The allegation is that the neatness test is only administered to black learners. “We requested the school to provide us with their code of conduct, the minutes of the meeting that the School Governing Body (SGB) held with regard to the possible amendment of the clause and the draft version or intended amendment of the Code of Conduct – Cathy Dlodlo