By Joseph Mambili.
A student in Kisumu County has been denied admission to a secondary school for having long hair.
Sharon Akinyi, who earned herself a place at St Mark Obambo Secondary in Kisumu West, was turned away by the school’s administration for her long hair which she says she cannot cut because of her religious beliefs.
The rules of the institution do not allow students to keep long hair.
She was turned away on January 9, 2018 even after meeting all other requirements.
The 17-year-old said that according to Bible, a woman should not shave his head because she will lose her glory and she was not ready to betray her God to satisfy earthly needs.
She even broke her Bible and quoted: “1st Corinthians Chapter 11, verses 14 to 15 says: Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.”
According to rule 11 of the school’s regulation, “All students must be tidy, hair cut short and well groomed.”
Akinyi’s guardian Jacob Odongo said that the girl’s father passed away when she was eight years old and her mother left due to family issues.
“I am taking care of this girl together with her brother, who joined Form One. I took her brother to Kisumu Boys and left my daughter to take this girl to Obambo because it is closer home.
“But at about 2pm yesterday, he got a call that the girl had been turned away even after complying with all the other requirements, which included payment of Sh5,000 for a lunch programme,” said Odongo.
Kisumu West Director of Education Albert Lang’at said he was yet to receive any information on the issue adding that the principal had broken the law.
“I will tell the school management that the policy is clear that no student should be refused admission on the basis of having long or short hair.”
The school’s principal Kepher Okoth through his secretary said he will not comment on the matter.
A teacher in the institution said, “I don’t think the policy is aimed at victimising students. It is just for purposes of keeping the students neat because this place is very hot and dusty and it would be too demanding for them to keep long hair. And it would be unfair for other students to allow some of them to keep long hair as others abide by the school regulations.”
The school came to the limelight in 2014 after another student was suspended on grounds of having long hair.
In the same year, a student was turned away at Metkei Girls Secondary for her long hair.