Lawyer describes teen's 'boofy' hair in court

  • Breaking
  • 22/06/2014

A Hastings teenager suspended over his long hair has been told he can return to school on Wednesday with his hair tied back.

Lucan Battison, 16, and his father, Troy, have been seeking a judicial review at the High Court in Wellington today into St John's College's decision to suspend him after he was told to get a haircut and refused.

Justice David Collins this afternoon said Lucan can return to school on Wednesday with his hair tied back until he makes his final ruling on the case.

The teenager has been attending the Hastings school for more than three years with the same hair style, but was told to cut it by principal Paul Melloy when he started the job last month.

Lucan's lawyer, Jol Bates, described his client's "boofy" hair and told the court it would turn into an afro if he were to cut it.

"He simply wishes to have his hair worn in a way that he feels comfortable," said Mr Bates.

He said Lucan and his family were standing up for what they believe in, and compared the case to Kate Sheppard and the suffragettes, who challenged New Zealand law to gain the right for women to vote.

"This family is a hard-working Kiwi family who have not come to court to make trouble."

Mr Bates said his client does not feel comfortable with shorter hair and referred to the Bill of Rights.

"Can a school dictate to a law how one's body should look? And the answer to that is no.

"There's nothing imperatively wrong with boys having long hair."

He said Lucan's hair is "off the collar and out of his eyes", and Mr Melloy "took the wrong approach" when dealing with the teen.

"Why do you need to take on a world war when you can perhaps take on a small battle?" Justice Collins asked the lawyer.

Lucan was the recipient of a bravery award for rescuing two swimmers in January last year. He's also in the school's 1st XV rugby team.

Mr Melloy and the board of trustees defended the school's decision this afternoon.

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