Despite reports to the contrary, Clifton Hunter High School Principal Pauline Beckford said no students have been sent home from her school for dress code violations.

A posting on Facebook showed a picture of a young man with close-cropped hair and claimed he had been sent home from the school for violating the new dress code issued last week by the Ministry of Education.

Ms. Beckford said in disciplining the student in question on another matter, she mentioned that his hair did not meet the new requirements, which call for male student to have short hair “in keeping with the cultural norms of the Cayman Islands.” The student’s hair she said, was cut close on the sides but had a “dollop” on top. She said the student was taken from the school by a parent in order to get a haircut and was expected to return the same day.

Attempts to reach the boy’s family for comment were unsuccessful.

Schools are having to deal with the implementation of the new guidelines, but both Ms. Beckford and John Gray High School Principal Jonathan Clark said things are going relatively smoothly.

“It’s the first week back and I want to apply some emotional intelligence on this,” Ms. Beckford said, adding the school is working to inform students and parents on the new rules. Mr. Clark said there are not that many changes.

“Before, you were allowed to wear a stud earring,” he said, noting that no jewelry is allowed now other than wrist watches. “Before the skirt could be just above the knee, so that’s changed.”

Skirts now have to be below the knee.

Students are being informed about the new guidelines – which also call for boys’ pants to be worn waist high, shirts to be tucked in, shoes to be all black, and no makeup or nail polish – during the first week of school. After that, he said, he and his staff will start “cranking up the pressure” on enforcing the code.

“We’re trying to apply some common sense,” he said. Ms. Beckford explained how the three-strikes provision on enforcement will work:

  • Strike one: The student and, possibly, the parent would be spoken to.
  • Strike two: Detention.
  • Strike three: Suspension with a required parent conference.

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