Schools scramble to check rules after student’s legal victory

schoolNZ Herald 28 June 2014
New Zealand schools are facing hefty legal bills to ensure their rules on students’ appearance are legally watertight following a High Court ruling that a college’s decree on hair length was not legally enforceable.

Lucan Battison, 16, successfully challenged his suspension from St John’s College in Hastings for refusing to cut his “naturally curly hair”.

The school’s rules state students must have “hair that is short, tidy and of natural colour. Hair must be off the collar and out of the eyes.”

Yesterday, Justice David Collins said the rule was capable of being interpreted differently by students, parents, teachers, the principal and the board of trustees and was not legally enforceable.

He also ruled that Lucan’s refusal to follow principal Paul Melloy’s directive to get his hair cut did not amount to setting a harmful or dangerous example to other students.