A teenage boy has been suspended from school for two days because of his hairstyle — and his supportive mother has gone public in his defense.
“My son has shaved and dyed in red a small part of his hair,” Julie Maynard, of Cornwall, England, told Cornwall Live, about her 15-year-old son and his undercut. “He always slips his hair over so that it is covered in school. However, a teacher phoned me to tell me Kieran has been excluded [suspended] because, when the wind blows, people can see his dyed hair.”
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Further, Maynard said, “this small strip of hair is something that is so minor that it should not affect his education. He is a brilliant child.”
Kieran attends Bodmin College, a private prep school, and its principal, Brett Elliott, gave a rather confusing explanation of the situation to Cornwall Live. “Whilst I cannot discuss the reasons for the exclusion, I can confirm that the student in question was not excluded for hair color or it being dyed or shaved,” he said. But then he added, in apparent contradiction, “The College policy/procedure is quite clear and is shared in our Student Planner (page 25), which states that ‘hair color should be in natural shades only and should be worn in a conventional style.’”
Students being disciplined over their hairstyles make headlines regularly, with administrators — as they have in this case — typically pointing out that the teens in question have broken school grooming-code policies, often those that ban “unnatural” hair colors.
In February, a teenage boy in Mississippi who had been suspended for dyeing his hair pink kicked off an effort to repeal such a policy at his high school. Previously, stories about hair policies banning braids, dreadlocks, long hair on male students, and, just like this time, artificial-looking hues have all made headlines recently.
But Kieran’s case appears to go beyond the little bit of hair dye, as his mother — who has six other children — alleges that he’s long been bullied at the school “about his sexuality.” This was also not Maynard’s first run-in with the Bodmin administrators, as she spoke out in November about her younger son, 12, being bullied at the school over his weight. That’s when the concerned mom started a private antibullying Facebook page focused on students’ treatment at the school, inspiring several others to share their experiences as students there.
As for Kieran, his mother said that he simply “believes in being yourself.”
That’s a healthy and important attitude for teenagers to have, says child and teen psychologist Barbara Greenberg, who tells Yahoo Beauty, “Adolescents might want to make some sort of unique statement, and they want to express themselves as being different somehow, which should be encouraged,” especially since in doing so, “they are not harming anybody.”
Instead, Greenberg says, “I think we have this thing where conformity is associated with goodness and individualism with defiance, which it’s not. I think it’s a normal part of development, because everybody wants to be unique in their own way.”
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