Academy hat rule means New Addington rastafarian boy is banned
A RASTAFARIAN boy has been pulled out of his new secondary school after they refused to let him wear his hat.
Beverley Reid, 43, will not send her son Malachi to the Quest Academy, in Farnborough Avenue, Selsdon, in a dispute over their strict uniform policy.
She explained that the 11-year-old wears his hat due to the family's Rastafarian beliefs.
And she is unwilling to carry out the school's request of writing in and explaining why the hat – called a Tam – is a religious requirement.
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Beverley, who lives in New Addington, said: "I feel strongly about having to write in.
"I'm sure they haven't asked a Sikh to identify their religion or a Muslim to identify their religion.
"It's like a Freemason school and I'm not into sending my son to a place like that.
"Malachi's father works for the prison service, he works for the Queen, and he has got permission to wear his hat.
"This is my child they're talking about, they're trying to challenge his culture. It feels like we're in invisible chains."
Malachi used to attend Aerodrome Primary School, in Goodwin Road, Waddon, and Beverley says he was allowed to wear his hat there.
It was during summer school, before the start of the new term at Quest, that she discovered he would not be able to wear his Tam.
Beverley added: "We didn't apply for this school. Croydon Council gave me this school.
"At the moment, my son hasn't got a school.
"It's like everyone's looking and thinking why is your little boy not at school? I could cry for him."
This week, Beverley was trying to find Malachi a new secondary school.
Meanwhile, principal Andy Crofts has defended the academy's stance.
He said: "We have a published uniform code which we apply consistently to everyone.
"We allow head coverings that are required for religious reasons. We have asked this parent to provide us with evidence that this headwear is a religious requirement on several occasions and she has refused to do so.
"If we agreed to every parental request to modify some aspect of our uniform code, then it would cease to be a uniform."
Is Quest Academy right to ban Malachi from wearing his hat? Join the debate at www.thisiscroydontoday.co.uk or e-mail your views to email@example.com