The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal will decide next month if Wendy Taniela’s son Cyrus will have to cut his hair if he wants to stay enrolled at Australian Christian College Moreton.
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal will decide next month if Wendy Taniela’s son Cyrus will have to cut his hair if he wants to stay enrolled at Australian Christian College Moreton.

Boy fights to keep hair over strict school policy

A CABOOLTURE Prep student risking expulsion from a strict Christian school if he does not have his traditional long hair cut will have to wait until next month to find out whether he can keep his long hair and stay at the school.

Cyrus Taniela's bid to keep his long hair while attending Australian Christian College Moreton is today in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) in Brisbane for a hearing.

Wendy Taniela will find out next month if her son Cyrus, 5, will be allowed to keep his long hair and stay at the strict Christian school Australian Christian College Moreton.
Wendy Taniela will find out next month if her son Cyrus, 5, will be allowed to keep his long hair and stay at the strict Christian school Australian Christian College Moreton.

The QCAT member who is deciding the case, Samantha Traves, today told the hearing that she plans to give her decision on July 10, which is the Friday before the start of the school's second semester.

In opening his case today, lawyer Chris McGrath told the tribunal that the "nub" of Cyrus's case was that "he will be unenrolled unless he cuts his hair, and he can't wear it in a bun".

"If he was a little girl there would be no problem, but because he is a boy it's not okay," Mr McGrath told the court.

Giving evidence today mother Wendy Taniela told the tribunal that she and her husband had agreed not to cut Cyrus's hair until he turns seven, as part of family tradition.

Mrs Taniela, who is Samoan, said her husband is of Cook Island heritage, and they have a tradition where they have a special coming-of-age ceremony to cut his hair, as a sign of becoming a man.

Cyrus Taniela won’t get his hair cut until he is seven, as part of family tradition. Picture: John Gass
Cyrus Taniela won’t get his hair cut until he is seven, as part of family tradition. Picture: John Gass

Cyrus, who is the family's eldest son, started school in Prep this year and had barely been at the school a week when he was told his hair breached school policy.

His family contacted the Queensland Human Rights Commission after the school refused to compromise on its uniform policy.

Mrs Taniela told the tribunal that after the school initially complained about Cyrus wearing a bun, she had begun braiding his hair instead, and tucking it in so his braid did not hang below his collar.

But she said that after the school's board met to discuss Cyrus's hair, it said the braid also breached school policy

Mrs Taniela argues that Cyrus's hair cutting ceremony is due to occur in September next year and it's an elaborate occasion akin to a wedding which takes more than a year to organise, with contributions of gifts and hand-sewn items from family members.

The hearing continues, with evidence due to be given later today by Gary Underwood, the principal of Australian Christian College Moreton.


$600m early Christmas present as borders reopen

Premium Content $600m early Christmas present as borders reopen

Qld borders reopening sees state set for $600m windfall

Goomeri’s wartime history immortalised in bronze

Premium Content Goomeri’s wartime history immortalised in bronze

GOOMERI’S wartime history will take centre stage with $44,000 for a commemorative...

Severe storm warning in place for Burnett/Lockyer Valley

Premium Content Severe storm warning in place for Burnett/Lockyer Valley

A SEVERE thunderstorm warning is in place across the Wide Bay and Burnett regions...