Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland grammar school puts pupil in isolation over haircut

By Claire Williamson

A mother has told of her disbelief after her son was put in isolation at a Northern Ireland grammar school because of his haircut.

Last Friday 14-year-old Henry Miskimmin was put in isolation at Enniskillen Royal Grammar School due to his haircut.

He came home from school and told his mum that the school had said the haircut "wasn't the image the school wanted to portray to the public".

Mum Sandra said she had approved of the haircut.

She told BBC Talkback: "They are taken from their school year, in a separate classroom. There were three other boys with Henry. They are sent their school work and there's a teacher there to supervise them. They can't communicate with their friends or have break or lunch time with them.

"When I saw the haircut when he came home and I said it's fine.

"He gets his hair cut shorter during school holidays but not for school because we respect the rules they enforce.

"In my opinion it was not disrespectful or inappropriate to be at school. He has it short back and sides.

"Now to be isolated for a hair style that doesn't look untidy - it's clean and neat. To be penalised for looking like how he wants to look like is wrong."

Sandra was meeting with the school on Wednesday to find out the details on their uniform and appearance policy.

On the school's website under its Uniform guidelines for boys it states "hair should be above the collar and hairstyles should be tidy and unobtrusive. Hair should not be conspicuously coloured or shaven to extreme i.e number one".

Henry had to spend Monday in isolation also before Sandra contacted them. He was supposed to be in isolation on Tuesday also but when he arrived at school they told him he was allowed back to normal classes.

"They are kept in isolation until deemed appropriate to get back into mainstream school."

Sandra said she is a "strict" parent and expects her children to abide by the rules but that he is "impeccable" when he goes out to school.

When contacted for comment the principal of the school Elizabeth Armstrong told the Belfast Telegraph was an "internal school matter".

She said: "This is an internal school matter and we are dealing with the parent concerned who contacted us this morning."

Before contacting the school Sandra posted the picture of her son on Facebook and asked fellow parents for their views.

It prompted hundreds of comments in response.

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