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Court Ruling Favors Longhaired Student

July 8, 2005

A Costa Rican man who refuses to cuthis long hair to attend college has succeededin getting the nation’s highestcourt to shoot down a rule requiring thatmale students have short hair to attendclasses at the government’s NationalTraining Institute (INA).Gilberth Soto, 31, filed a lawsuitbefore the Constitutional Chamber of theSupreme Court (Sala IV) in January allegingINA’s rule violated his right to receivean education.The student, who was enrolled in theinstitute’s Center for TechnologicalDevelopment in Data Transmission andMicroelectronics, argued that his appearanceis part of his personality and anunalienable right, and that his long hairdoesn’t harm anyone.The court agreed. In its June 24 ruling,justices sided with Soto and ordered INA topay an unspecified amount in damages andlegal costs to the student. The complete rulinghas not yet been released.Meanwhile, the institute’s rule requiringmale students to have short hairremains in effect, according to INAspokesman Sergio Castro. He told TheTico Times this week college administratorshave no comment on the court’s decisionbecause they haven’t yet been officiallynotified of the ruling.

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