A HEADTEACHER has been criticised for being too strict over pupils’ hairstyles after youngsters were banned from lessons.
Parents have now begun a campaign to get the regulations relaxed at Park Community School in Leigh Park.
They say the school is taking a too heavy-handed approach – punishing pupils for subtle colour changes and even spiking up their hair with gel.
The school has maintained for many years a policy that ‘extremes of fashion’ will not be tolerated.
But parents say it has been taken too far recently.
Summer Kenyon – who dyed her hair from brown to a mahogany colour – is one of three youngsters who have fallen foul of the school’s policy.
She has now been forced to work away from her classmates and cannot attend assemblies.
Her mum Jaye, 31, of Norley Close, Leigh Park, said: ‘She’s not offending anyone, she’s not doing anything wrong.
‘I could understand if she went into school with bright red hair, but it’s not.
‘It’s one block colour. I want her to be able to grow up and be able express her individuality, but they are taking that away from the children.’
The school said it is aiming for a business-like appearance to prepare children for employment.
But Mrs Kenyon said: ‘If someone didn’t give Summer a job because her hair was that colour, I would tell her not to go for the job.’
Parents have started a page on Facebook to try to get the rules relaxed. The campaign comes as teachers at the school are also being told to smarten up their appearance.
Virginia Steel, a governor at Park Community School for more than 10 years, said: ‘I know the uniform for staff is being discussed at the moment but they are not happy about it.
‘It’s not a uniform – just appropriate clothes for school. Some of the things are not suitable when you are working with adolescent boys and then the young girls also want to look like it.’
Park Community is not only the school in the area with a policy about hair.
Horndean Technology College, for instance, bans ‘excessive, bright, non-natural hair colours, beaded dreadlocks and braids’.
Park Community’s headteacher Chris Anders said he did not want pupils getting into a ‘fashion race’.
He said: ‘School is preparation for work and work at school is serious. Most employers will have an expectation as to how you will look.’
But he said he and governors were prepared to listen to pupils’ and parents’ concerns and were already planning to review the policy at a meeting this week. New rules could include allowing subtle colour changes and spikes of up to 3cm in height.
He said: ‘I am not going to wander round measuring. What I don’t want is spiked up crests and shaved at the sides. That kind of hair for me is not appropriate for school. I think it’s about having a smart business-like appearance that we would want them to have in future.’