PARENTS
08/09/2015 06:47 BST | Updated 08/09/2015 06:59 BST

Teen Sent Home From School Due To Leopard Print Hair, Mum Says: 'It's A Breach Of Her Human Rights'

The mother of a schoolgirl who was sent home for her leopard-print hairstyle is criticising the school's decision as a "breach of her human rights".

Yvonne Mcdowell, 34, was furious after her 13-year-old daughter, Lauren, was sent home on the first day of the new term of Forge Valley School in Sheffield.

Now the mum is refusing to change her daughter's hairstyle.

Mcdowell, from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, said: "As far as I'm concerned it's a breach of my daughter's human rights. She had the hair cut about a week before she went back to school.

"No one has the right to tell someone what to do with their body. It is her body."

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The hairstyle is shaved on one side of Lauren's head which is dyed brown and blonde.

Mcdowell added: "She is my child and not [the school's]. She didn't sign away her rights when she started at school.

"The school says they encourage children as individuals but this is not supporting her. Lauren has a life outside of school."

The mum-of-six said her daughter has faced bullying in the past but now enjoys school.

She added: "Lauren was bullied at school and it has taken her a while to build up her confidence. She is devastated.

"She loves school. She is not a bad pupil. She works hard. What has her hair got to do with her education?

"I have explained to the school that I can understand its uniform policy and I totally agree with it but you cannot tell anyone how their hair should be styled.

"They are discriminating against her because of how she looks. She has the right to express herself in whatever way she wants as long as she is in school uniform.

"They are refusing my child an education. She was in school wanting to learn."

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Yvonne Mcdowell and daughter Lauren

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Headteacher Dale Barrowclough said the school has a "very clear uniform policy".

He said: "This policy is communicated to parent frequently and is available to download from our website. The policy clearly states that extreme haircuts, including hair colour are not allowed.

"A pupil arrived at school with a ‘leopard skin hair colour' style.

"I took the decision to send the pupil home in order to remedy this breach of the school's uniform policy."

Mcdowell, who said she was not aware of a school policy on haircuts, said the style was something the Year 8 pupil had been requesting for some time.

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