School headmaster sparks debate over haircuts George Stark School Head Masimba Mupavaenda shaves the heads of learners with unkempt hair.

Farai Dauramanzi Herald Reporter

SOCIAL media went into meltdown yesterday, reacting to a video posted by The Herald of a school head who used a pair of scissors to plough through the hair of all learners who did not have proper haircuts when schools opened on Monday.

The video of George Stark High School headmaster, Mr Masimba Mupavaenda, generated a lot of debate all of yesterday, with many people including Government officials and prominent activists, commenting in their personal capacities. Mr Mupavaenda haphazardly cut the learners’ hair saying the school does not tolerate “stylish haircuts”.

“We discovered that the calibre of learners at George Stark have a tendency of coming to school unprepared in the sense that as you have just seen, there are some who still have stylish hair, some have tints and all sorts of hairstyles which do not promote good learning at a learning environment.

“So that being the case, I decided not to send them back home because they will loiter until it’s time to go home.” he said.

However, social media users that commented on the video were divided on whether the headmaster’s conduct was appropriate or not.

Some said it was good in ensuring discipline among learners while others said haircuts were not important in the learning process.

A twitter user, @Ham2Hamandishe, saluted the headmaster saying: “Thumbs up Mr Headmaster. (For) Restoring pride, dignity and order in the learning fraternity.”

Another social media user, @Sonny_Homu, said: “Rules are there to be followed. The parents know the rules and so do the students. You either toe the line or face the music. Well done for implementing what we already know.”

Other social media users such as @Taku03 added that learners and parents should be prepared to follow set rules or find alternative schools.

“But the Head isn’t wrong ariko wani maschools anotendera all sorts of hairstyles, it’s like religion kumwe kunonz izvii bhoo izvii noo choose a school you want your kid to attend period,” said @Taku03.

Takudzwa Muyangwa thanked Mr Mupavaenda saying: “Kana uchida mwana wako aite zvaunoda iwewe, ngaazviitire kumba kwako ikoko nemitemo yako. Kana ava kuchikoro takuita zvemutemo uripachikoro ipapo (if you want your child to do as you please, they should do so at your home. When at school, they should follow the school regulations).”

However, others such as @Melotlover1996 were against the headmaster’s action, saying it was abusive.

“I am failing to grasp the correlation between a hairstyle, discipline and educational outcomes. “This is just an archaic, and colonial mind-set. It’s abuse. Period,” said @Melotlover1996.

Comfort Dondo weighed in saying: “This is not discipline, it is pure abuse! We should never tolerate this in 2023. We talk to our children in love and teach them well.”

Others such as @joyruva said: “There is no correlation between hairstyle & excelling academically or being a good child. This really needs to change in Zimbabwean schools, children should be able to have hairstyles they want.”

Reached for comment yesterday, Director of Communications and Advocacy in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Mr Taungana Ndoro said the Education Act was clear that every school should have a code of conduct aligned to the Bill of Rights.

“This code of conduct is supposed to be agreed upon and discussed by the parents, school authorities and the pupils themselves.

“There should be a lot of transparency and integrity in terms of dealing with any acts of misconduct,” said Mr Ndoro.

He added that the Ministry had dispatched the Harare Province Education office to carry out investigations at George Stark High School to check if all modalities in implementing the code of conduct were followed. George Stark High School is in Mbare, Harare.

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