SAHRC finds some schools in Eastern Cape over policing students

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The South African Human Rights Commission says the rights of learners in the Eastern Cape province have been infringed upon due to over regulation in schools.

The commission conducted an investigative inquiry in the province, with the purpose of addressing concerns regarding the alleged excessive regulation on learners regarding appearances and uniforms.

Provincial Manager for the Eastern Cape Human Rights Commission, Eileen Carter, said that the inquiry found instances of over-policing of students.

“Children’s rights have been infringed by the alleged over regulation of appearances in school uniforms, that would relate to the right to equality, the right to dignity, the right to freedom of expression, culture, and religion. It definitely goes above and beyond just being told what to wear going to school. School uniforms are determined by the school codes of conduct and uniform policies. What the Human Rights Commission has found through the complaints it has received, is that children are being very much policed in their appearances, which does not necessarily feed into the right to access to basic education. An example would be that children would be sent through a disciplinary process for their hair being a bit too long”.