Virgo family says willing to work with Gov't; sets up GoFundMe

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Virgo family says willing to work with Gov't; sets up GoFundMe

Sunday, August 02, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Dale and Sherine Virgo, the parents of the little girl who took the Government to court to establish the child's right to wear locs to primary school, say they're happy to see the directions from the political directorate that they are now prepared to make changes to prevent hair discrimination.

Both Prime Minister Andrew Holness andMinister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange indicated yesterday that changes in this regard are long overdue.

In a statement this afternoon, the Virgos said they are prepared to meet with the Government and Opposition in this respect, even while acknowledging that they wrote to the political directorate at every level before court action was taken, without avail or response, and that the school was represented in court by the Government.

“Our sole objective in bringing this action was to prevent what happened to our child from happening to another parent/child. We were not the only family to be faced with this discriminatory rule from schools in Jamaica. In fact, each year children are turned away from many other institutions just because of their natural hairstyles,” the statement read.

“...We even wrote an open letter to the prime minister last year with absolutely no response. The school was represented at court by the Government, whilst we were forced to hire and retain a lawyer for two long years to assist us with bringing our claim thus far.”

The family also indicated that they have established a GoFundMe as they continue their legal battle.

Below are excerpts from the remainder of the statement:

“Going up against the Government seemed like a lost battle, especially when you are just a regular Jamaican citizen trying to live in a country where classism exists. We note with incredulity the attacks on our lawyer Isat Buchanan's competence and pleadings, but wish to note that we should have never been in court arguing this case from day one. The Government lent its expertise (paid for by our tax dollars) to fight this case rather than to seek to resolve the centuries of discrimination encapsulated in a rule that bans locs whilst allowing Eurocentric looks. Such shame!

“The Government has the power to ensure that our [daughter] and the many other children with locs can attend freely the schools of their choice with their hair intact.

“...We are anxious to know how and why it was “OK” for a Government school to turn away an innocent and brilliant five year old who passed all her assessments to enter the school. We patiently wait.

"…My daughter's pressing question to us since Friday now that the injunction filed two years ago has been lifted has been this… "Mummy, do I really have to go to a new school or cut my hair off now?" You see, contrary to the news out there, the Kensington Primary that I am now a part is a very good learning institution … the school has been under new management that seems to be much more harmonious and nothing like the previous.

“We have written to the principal of Kensington Primary School and we await their answer regarding the lifting of the injunction and a place for our [daughter] at the school without any problem with her locs. We hope we will have an answer from the school and a written judgment from the courts before school reopens.”


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