Friday, February 28, 2014


A student in Elgeyo-Marakwet has been denied admission to a secondary school for having long hair.
Ruth Jemutai Kongin, 14, who scored 356 marks and earned herself a place at Metkei Girls Secondary School, was turned away by the administration for her long hair which she says she cannot cut because of her religious beliefs.
The school’s rules do not allow students to keep long hair.
The girl is a member of the Kenya Local Bible Believers church which does not permit women and girls to shave their hair for any reason.
She was turned away on February 6, 2014 even after paying her fees in full.
Her parents sought the intervention of County Director of Education Sabina Aroni who personally took the student to the school Wednesday but failed to make any headway.
“I have been here for more than four hours seeking to talk to the principal but shockingly, she left a message with her deputy that the student should not be admitted,” Ms Aroni said.
She said the principal had broken the law and she would subsequently advise the Teachers Service Commission on the issue.
The girl’s mother, Ms Dorcas Kongin, said her daughter’s hair has never been cut.
“Our Christian beliefs and teachings tell us to keep our hair long as clearly spelled out in the Bible. 1 Corinthians 11:14-15 categorically states hair is a woman’s covering and shaving it is a disgrace to God,” she said.
Ms Kongin said her other three daughters are members of the church and have never shaved their hair but had not experienced such problems when going to high school.
“This is discrimination based on our religious doctrines and we are not ready to compromise our faith,” she said.
Ms Kongin urged Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi to intervene and enable her daughter to continue learning at the school.
The student said she was ready to go to another school which would allow her to keep her hair.
Pastor Silas Kiptui of the Bible Believers of Kenya says he has written to the school about the issue but to no avail.
The school’s principal Jennifer Rono referred the Nation to the school’s board of governors which she said had the final say on the matter.


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