KINGSTON, Jamaica - Although the guardian of the 16-year-old male student of a Portmore high school is upset that he was recently suspended for bleaching his skin, the principal says the school rules clearly state it is not allowed.
The youngster, who is also a member of the school's football team, was suspended from school on November 18 and told not to return until his rightful complexion was restored. His grandfather, however, has taken issue with that.
The grandfather, Willard Costley, said that while he was not questioning the rules of the school, he believed proper steps were not taken before his grandson was sent home. He said when he went to discuss the matter at the school recently, he was told he was not listed as a guardian and therefore the child's conduct could not be discussed with him.
"He must have been doing it for a while and nobody said anything to him, and secondly, they did not contact any of his relatives before he was sent home," he said.
Costley said the stipulation that he could only return after his colour came back was essentially equal to indefinitely suspending the youngster, as no one knew how long it would take. "What if it takes ten years to come back, he must not go to school for ten years?"
He suggested that the school waited until elimination from the Manning Cup football competition before suspending the teen, as "they didn't have any use for him again". Being at home, Costley said, was not good for a young boy, who could end up using this new-found spare time in a negative way.
The principal, however, said the student was not the first to be suspended for bleaching. She said the school's rules strictly prohibited bleaching, and added that this rule was sanctioned by parents. (The STAR)