A Kent secondary school has caused outrage after reportedly threatening to punish a student if he shaves his head to raise money for a cancer charity.
“Furious” mum Abigail Phillips claims that Maplesden Noakes School in Maidstone told her son Raif Valery he would be placed in isolation if he removed all of his hair, with the secondary’s uniform code describing the style as “extreme” and “not permitted”.
“Where a pupil repeatedly refuses to comply with school uniform policy, even if they do not otherwise display poor behaviour, there will be an appropriate consequence,” the policy reads.
Philips wrote online: “I’m furious that a school, an organisation which should be supporting children and encouraging them to be decent citizens, believes they can impose rules on his fund raising intentions.”
According to the midwife, the school told her that 15-year-old Valery must shave his head at the start of the school holidays to give it time to grow back and that it must be no shorter than a grade 3.
At least one other teenage boy has been taken out of classes until his hair grows back following a charity head shave, KentOnline reported.
Phillips has now launched a petition demanding the school allows her son to shave his head as part of Macmillan’s Brave To Shave campaign.
The petition, which has been signed more than 200 times, details how the Year 11 student has already raised £250 for the cancer charity.
It continues: “However, The Maplesden Noakes School have told him if he goes ahead with this he will be put into internal isolation until his hair grows back.
“Raif has his GCSE’s this year so any time spent in isolation could have a detrimental effect on his grades,” Phillips adds.
“I think the school should be making an example of his awareness of this worthy cause and should be supporting him not threatening him and potentially jeopardising his attempts to raise money.
“What message is The Maplesden Noakes School sending by placing higher import (sic) on hair length than on raising money for charity and in addition what message does it send to kids with cancer who have lost their hair?”
Valery’s aunt Henrietta Phillips, a cancer survivor, commented on the petition: “What Raif is doing is not illegal, or dangerous or extremely uncouth; he is having his hair cut very short in solidarity with those who lose their hair during chemotherapy.”
She added: “The decision made by Maplesden Noakes has been ill thought out and [is] mean spirited.
“I urge whoever is responsible to reconsider, and get behind Raif and promote his dedication to a very worthy cause.”
The Maplesden Noakes School has been contacted by The Huffington Post UK for comment, but has yet to respond.