Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Boy isolated from School over hair cut

This morning I was listening to Nick Ferarri on London's LBC Talk Radio station when he carried a story about a 13 year old boy called Sheldon Nelson who is excluded from school since the 22nd September this year because of his hair cut.

The story has been picked up by the London Standard, Telegraph and ITV London TV programme among others media organisations.

The London Standard article with picture of the young chap can be found here.

Teacher TV Video Clip http://www.teachers.tv/news/80631

Both the boy's mother and the executive head teacher of Church of England Blackheath Bluecoat school were interviewed by Nick on his programme as the argument continues to be played out in the media.

The boy's mother claimed the School's uniform code is unclear and just says the hair cut should be of conventional length and style. She also claimed that the 'border line' hair cut was a cultural thing for black boys. She says she has spoken to the School Governors and her local MP but there was still a stand off. She also claimed he had been given no school work to complete at home.

The executive head, Jeffrey Risbridger was also interviewed, he claimed the school dress code was very clear, he was following government guidelines and the boy needed to be isolated to set an example and to avoid copy cat breaches of dress code.

It all seems a sorry state of affairs being played out in the media and the real loser is Sheldon who is missing out on his education while two grown ups fight it out in the media. Surely Sheldon's education should come first!

Now I understand the School's position with the need for rules to be adhered to, but I also understand the mother's perception that the rules are not clear and the hair cut is part of her son's culture.

Community Cohesion comes to mind here.

There has been little clue in the media stories what role the School Governing Body is playing in this saga but surely the best way forward is for the adults to compromise and get Sheldon back to school as soon as possible.

On Twitter, a user by the name of David Prescott aka @DavidPrescott who is the Chair of Governors at Blackhealth Bluecoat School says he backs his Executive head.

Obviously we don't know the exact details but it would seem sensible to me that the school clarifies it's definition of the school dress code and Sheldon then complies with the clarified code. If both sides can claim a small victory without ritual humiliation or climb down from their entrenched positions then the issue is likely to resolved sooner rather than later.

Would be keen to hear what others think about this story.

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