An 11-year-old boy has been sent home from school and threatened with exclusion unless he gets his hair cut that he has been growing for a cancer charity.
Harley Leedham of Newfield Road, Sleaford had attended a parent’s evening at St George’s Academy with his family on Wednesday and received a glowing report from his teachers until he was pulled aside by the vice-principal and told to get his hair cut to fall in line with school policy or face exclusion.
Upset mum Victoria Leedham says she offered to compromise by tying it back for health and safety, but within ten minutes of Harley arriving at school yesterday (Thursday) she received a phone call to say he was being sent home again until his neatly combed blond locks were shortened.
Harley explained he has been growing his hair to be eventually cut off and donated to the Little Princess Trust to be made into a wig for cancer patients undergoing treatment. His mum said he has nearly always had long hair and had it all cut off once before in year five at William Alvey School for the same charity and received a commendation from his headteacher.
Miss Leedham said: “The policy is archaic. It is gender discrimination and sexism. Girls can have short or long hair, why can’t boys? Harley has been doing really well at his new school and making friends and after three weeks he has been threatened with exclusion but has done nothing wrong.”
Harley said: “It is upsetting as all I want to do is help people.”
Miss Leedham said the policy on hair was unspecific, Harley had previously been verbally told by a teacher to cut his hair but his mum had asked the school to contact her to discuss the issue directly and had heard nothing until now. She is meeting with the principal of St George’s, Wayne Birks, today (Friday) to discuss the way forward.
The Standard has contacted the Academy’s principal Wayne Birks and will be receiving a response from him on the matter later in the day, but the school’s uniform policy on its website states: “The Academy has adopted the type of uniform worn in all good educational establishments. It is intended to ensure that a positve image of high standards is presented at all times and we ask for the support of parents in buying the correct items of uniform in the first instance and by ensuring their child wears them in Academy.
“We expect our students to be neat, clean and smartly dressed as would be expected in any place of employment. Hair should be a suitable, neat style and natural colour. Extremes of hair styles and colour, as decided by the Academy, are not acceptable.”