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School places pupil in isolation for wearing cornrows

DEBATE: Lemar Simpson and his mum Selina Byatt. He is being taught in isolation as his haircut has been deemed extreme by his school. (Photo credit: Steve O'Connell)

TWELVE YEAR-old pupil Lemar-Shea Simpson was removed from lesson after turning up with his afro hair in cornrows. The school, Eastwood Academy in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, have argued that his hairstyle is in breach of its uniform policy.

Lemar, who is mixed raced, was told he cannot return to class until his hair has been cut into a ‘regulation style’.

Mother Selina Byatt, 43, has slammed the school’s actions and told the Basildon Echo: “I couldn't believe it, Lemar is dual-heritage and has afro hair.

“Anyone who has afro hair, or has seen Lemar's will know he doesn't have too many options in terms of style, and he definitely can't just run a comb through it in the morning.

Eastwood Academy’s website states that pupils can not have a ‘two tone or vibrant hair colours, tramlines and hair cut to below a number two’.

CORNROWS: A photograph of Lemar's hairstyle (Photo credit: Basildon Echo)


Selina, a carer, claimed that a picture of a girl with cornrows was featured on the school's website. The picture has since been removed.

“He has always wanted to grow it and have cornrows and I went on the school website and there was a girl on there with the same hair cut.

“Of course hers is longer, it looks like it probably has extensions in, but surely that is just as bad?'

The 43-year-old is further claiming the school is not considering her son's culture and says she can't afford to have his haircut every week.

She said: “He knew his hair was quite scruffy and looked a bit of a mess, all the other kids at school had pointed that out to him.

“He has been growing his hair since the summer to have this, he used to have his hair very short, front back and sides.

“But he was so happy with the cornrows, and as far as I am concerned he looked ten times smarter.”

Selina has written to the Academy committee, asking them to step in over the decision.

According to The Daily Mail, a spokesman for the school said: 'The Academy's uniform policy states that the following in respect to hairstyles: 'Extremes of hairstyle are not permitted'...'With regard to the interpretation of these rules the Academy's decision is final'.

“The Academy deems that the particular hairstyle, as worn by the male pupil in question, is 'extreme' and therefore sanctions were issued in line with the Academy's policy.

“The parent was also offered the opportunity to write to the relevant Academy committee responsible for reviewing the uniform policy on an annual basis.”

The Voice has made efforts to contact the school.

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