A mum has spoken of her fury after her son’s school issued an ultimatum over his new haircut – either change it or be excluded from class.
Sarah Purdy was told by Brooklands Middle School that nine-year-old son Danny’s quiff haircut – inspired by his hero, Arsenal footballer Olivier Giroud – was not in line with their policy on appearance.
And she was livid to learn that until it was ‘rectified’ he would be placed in an isolated learning area away from the other children at the Leighton school.
Ms Purdy, 33, said: “My son came home from school in tears saying the school told him he was not allowed in.
“I spoke to them and they told me he could, but he would be put in an exclusion room away from all other children until his hair is sorted.”
On Friday, Ms Purdy took him to school and was told by staff immediately that he would be placed in the reflection room for the day.
Ms Purdy, a trainee-nurse, refused to have her son separated from the other children and took him home. She told the LBO how Danny had saved £7 from his pocket money to have a haircut like his footballing hero.
She said: “All he wanted was a little confidence, and it was amazing how something as simple as a haircut did that for him, Brooklands school have taken that away from him.”
Headteacher Steven Harrington-Williams defended the school’s stance.
He told the LBO: “What happened was he came into school with a large portion of his hair shaved almost to the scalp while the rest was long. We don’t expect that sort of haircut in the school. We would have placed him in the reflection area where he would have done something.
“The other thing that’s distressing is that on the morning back from holidays, I gave a message to the whole school in what was acceptable in terms of appearance.”
Mr Harrington-Williams said he had reminded Danny about that school assembly when he took him into his office.
He added: “We have a school policy on haircuts and unfortunately, I, as headteacher of the school, have to abide by those standards.”
It is not the first time Brooklands School has been accused of being too strict in its adherence to the rules.
In October, a man told the LBO he was ‘disgusted’ with the school after his eight-year-old grandson had been isolated in a reflection room for having one tramline shaved in his hair.
He said: “The head teacher made an example of him and put him in a reflection room to do his work by himself and one teacher for the whole day.
“His mum was called at 3.20pm to collect him and he was crying, in a right state.
“They told his mum he had to shave his whole head or wait for the bit to grow back before he returned to school. His mum is disgusted and so am I, How can he be treated like that?”
For now, a stand-off has effectively emerged between Brooklands Middle School and Ms Purdy, who has asked the school for materials to home school Danny while the situation is ongoing.
She said: “We genuinely didn’t think a haircut like Danny’s was breaking the rules. As long as children wear their school uniforms correctly and work hard at school, I really don’t see what the problem is.
“I most certainly won’t stand by and watch them make my son feel like an outcast and exclude him from lessons. I always thought we think with our brains and not our hair, but clearly not.”
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