Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

Another bad hair day for pupil Grant

An Ulster school embroiled in a row over the length of male student's hair is understood to have implemented disciplinary procedures against a number of pupils, it has been revealed.



Ballyclare High School hit the headlines after a 15-year-old GCSE student was suspended because his hair is too long.

Grant Stranaghan, from Rathcoole in Newtownabbey was given the three-day suspension last Wednesday because his hair was two inches below his collar - a breach of the school's regulations.

Grant was given numerous detentions ahead of the suspension and it is understood a number of other boys are also being punished with detentions for having long hair.

On Monday, Grant was allowed back into the school but is being isolated from his class.

The Belfast Telegraph understands Grant is kept alone in a room with teachers bringing the work to him.

He has also been told to take his break and lunch before the rest of the school.

Last night Grant said the stress of the situation was taking its toll on his health.

"It's terrible. I'm getting headaches again. I was put in a room at the main entrance hall with the receptionists keeping an eye on me.

"People are walking past looking in at me but they are not allowed to come in and speak to me. Everyone knows it's me in there because I've been on the radio and in the papers. It's like being in a prison," he said.

Despite the furore Grant is still refusing to get his hair cut.

He said: "I am doing something I feel strongly about and that's important to me."

And he said the situation has put him off returning to school after his GCSE's. Instead he wants to go to a further education college to study art or media.

"Before all this happened I didn't know whether or not to do A-levels but now I have made up my mind," he said.

Meanwhile Grant's father, George, has refuted claims that he had refused to meet teachers to discuss the matter.

He said: "I contacted the school yesterday (Monday) lunchtime and asked to speak to the headmaster or Grant's form teacher but none of them were available. I left a message for them to make sure they ring me back but they didn't.

"I think it's absolutely disgraceful the way he's being treated. He's being treated very unfairly, he's being kept on his own. He's being treated like a leper.

"They are saying we don't want to sort this out but all we want is an education and GCSEs for our son."

A spokeswoman for Ballyclare High School said: "Before any pupil joins the school, both the parents and prospective pupils are informed of the school's code of conduct, which includes our uniform code. This has been our practice for many years.

"It is one of the factors which parents must take into consideration before deciding to send their child to the school. These rules are applied to all pupils equally, using proper procedures and with due regard to any mitigating circumstances."

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