A learner at the Benoni Ashton International College will be allowed to grow his beard based on religious beliefs despite it being a transgression of the school’s code of conduct.
The decision, which was agreed upon by the learner’s parents and their legal representatives, the school’s management, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE), came after the matter was reported on October 23 when it was alleged the learner was asked to leave the school for growing his beard.
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In a statement to the media, the school stated all parties concerned met to discuss a provision in the school’s code of conduct that requires male learners to be cleanly shaven unless a concession is submitted in which case the school has allowed for closely shaved.
“In terms of the religious beliefs and practices of the learner, he is obligated not to shave his beard and to grow it to a fist full length,” the statement read.
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“During the aforementioned meeting, the officials from the DBE and GDE emphasised that the Constitution applies to both public and independent schools and that both departments are committed to the protection of the rights of all learners regardless of the type of school they attend.
“To resolve the matter, the school agreed to review its initial decision of the concession application that was previously submitted on the learner’s behalf by his parents, and undertook to allow the learner to grow his beard (in line with his religious convictions) and to allow him continued attendance at the school in the 2019 academic year and beyond.”
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