A student who went to school with his hair in plaits was taken from his classes and placed in isolation, after his hairstyle was judged as ‘excessive’ by the professors.
Lealan Hague, 14, was placed in Exmouth Community College’s’ Reflection room, where students finish studies in isolation, after his professors communicated that there was a ‘problem with his hair being worn up in plaits.’
Lealan, who plays rugby at the Devon school, chose to braid his hair up over the weekend to keep it away of his face, but was told by the officials that he should keep it down instead.
Kirsty, his mother, has now regarded the school’s policy an “absolute joke,” believing that her 14-year-old son has the same right to wear plaits as the girls at the school.
She said, “He has had the same hair cut for the past 11 years but he has been told this morning that because it is up today in a plait then it’s an issue.”
“His head of year said if he had his hair down it wouldn’t be an issue,” Kirsty added. “He is in top set for basically all subjects so it is clearly not affecting his learning. It’s an absolute joke.”
For Kirsty, they think that Lealan looks smarter with his hair up. She even pointed out the need to keep Lealan’s hair out of his face since he plays rugby.
They also conveyed their dismay for putting their son in a four-cornered room at school all by himself all day and can’t even go to the cafeteria for his lunch because other students might see him.
The Hague family has previously argued with the school over its haircut policy.
After having his haircut at home in March, Lealan, who had been looking forward to coming back to school and socializing with his friends after months of learning from home, was forced to spend his first day back in isolation.
He was placed in seclusion just 45 minutes into the school day after his haircut was considered ‘severe and excessively short.’
Kirsty said at the time that she had no choice but to cut his hair herself because salons were still closed, and that because the blade on her hair clippers had broken, she could only give him a zero along the sides and leave his longer hair on top because the blade on her hair clippers had broken.
The next day, Lealan was released from seclusion and permitted back into the classroom.
Exmouth Community College’s principal, Andrew Davis, noted at the time that the school had high standards for student appearance, and Lealan’s haircut was judged a “quite extreme haircut.”
When the circumstances were described to him, however, he stated that no further action was taken.
Responding to the latest complaint over Lealan’s hair, Mr. Davis said: “Our uniform rules are very clear and regularly communicated home to parents and carers. As is the case with many other schools across the country we expect hair to be conventional, do not allow students to have a haircut below grade one or to have extreme differences in hair length.”
He even clarified that the issue was not about braiding his hair up but the small, braided strip of her across the top of his head. As much as the school accommodates different range of hairstyles, there are some that seemed to be extreme and may result to distracting other students and as a punishment, they must endure being alone in an isolation room as a disciplinary measure.
In Mr. Davis’ closing statement, “School rules are also an important part of a child’s education which enable them to understand boundaries and consequences as they prepare to make their way in the world.’”