A barrister has been criticized after making disparaging remarks about a video that highlighted a teenager’s ordeal at her former school for wearing an afro hairstyle.
Ruby Williams was 15 when she was repeatedly sent home four years ago from her school, Urswick Church of England school in Hackney, due to her afro hairstyle.
Barrister remarks condemned
The case would later be settled out of court after her family sued the school for discrimination. However, the controversy surrounding the teenager’s afro hairstyle is far from over after a barrister called her suspension and the resulting lawsuit and settlement as a case of “stroppy teenager of colour”
In a tweet, Jon Holbrook responded to a video that had been posted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission by saying that the Equality Act undermined school discipline and empowered a stroppy teenager of color, in reference to William’s case.
Ruby William’s mother was among the first to respond to the barrister’s remarks, noting that her daughter had shown bravely by fighting to challenge institutional racism in schools that had resulted in a national conversation about afro hair and schools in the UK. She continued by highlighting the barrister’s remarks, noting that he may have responded after she saw the video of the family and decided to go after her daughter as an easy target.
Kate Williams continued by saying that the barrister knew nothing about her daughter and what she went through before the family decided to sue the school, where the school’s policy was only being implemented on afro hairstyles.
The tweet also generated reactions from legal professionals, with Holbrook’s own chamber criticizing him for his remarks. In a statement, Cornerstone Barristers indicated that the content of one of their own was not reflective of who they were as an organization. They indicated that Holbrook had been asked to delete the tweet pending an investigation into the matter.