Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


NZ schoolboy wins right to keep hair long

27 June 2014, 09:43

Wellington - A judge ruled on Friday that a New Zealand schoolboy need not cut his hair before returning to class and that his Catholic high school had been wrong to suspend him for having long locks.

Sixteen-year-old Lucan Battison was suspended last month from St John's College in the town of Hastings. Principal Paul Melloy said Battison had breached a rule that states students must keep their hair short, tidy, off their collars and out of their eyes.

But Battison argued his naturally curly hair would look unruly if cropped and he was prepared to wear it in a bun to comply with the school's standards. Rather than cut his hair, the student and his family took their case to court.

In his decision, New Zealand High Court judge David Collins found the schoolboy's actions weren't harmful or dangerous to other students, didn't amount to serious misconduct, and therefore didn't warrant suspension. He also found St John's didn't provide enough clarity in its hair rules to ensure students could comply with them.

While the school disagreed with Battison's hairstyle, it didn't dispute his description of himself as a "typical teenager." In fact, the school described him in court as a "nice young man".

Civil bravery award

The judge noted that "an insight into Lucan's character can be gleaned from the fact that in March this year he received a civil bravery award for participating in the rescue of two young women, who nearly drowned in dangerous swimming conditions at a Hawke's Bay beach."

The judge also noted that Battison represented St John's in rugby and loved attending the school, in part because his faith was important to him.

Battison's parents Troy Battison and Tania Doidge said in a statement their son had never broken the rules because his bun kept his hair off his collar and out of his eyes.

"In 2014, when girls' hair lengths at school aren't questioned, why should the rules be different for boys?" they said.

"The criticism we have received as parents has been hurtful and unnecessary," they added.

Disciplinary committee

In his ruling, Judge Collins noted that one of Battison's lawyers had tried to provide the school board's disciplinary committee with statements from two hairdressers, one of whom said Battison's hair was already short and would "look like 'an untidy afro' if it was cut shorter," but that the committee apparently chose not to accept the testimony.

Battison was allowed to return to his school earlier this month after the judge said he could stay in class while the case progressed.

In a statement issued on Friday by St John's, which contains grammatical errors, Principal Paul Melloy said: "Naturally we are disappointed of the decision made in Wellington today."

"The Board of Trustees are taking time to consider the judgment made by Justice Collins in terms of its impact, both on our school and on other schools."

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...