Belfast Telegraph

Second Northern Ireland school issues haircut suspension - mum takes boy out of college

By Claire Williamson

A mother has taken her child out of school because he has been handed an "internal suspension" due to his haircut.

Geraldine Gillan said her son Tiernan, who is 13-years-old, went to get a hair cut on Wednesday and when he arrived at St Patrick's College in Maghera on Thursday he was pulled aside and handed an "internal suspension".

It comes just one week after another mother told of her disbelief after her son was put in isolation at a Northern Ireland grammar school because of his haircut.

Read more

Mum's anger after Northern Ireland grammar school puts son in isolation over 'inappropriate' haircut

<< Has your child been put in isolation over a haircut or something similar? Get in touch here >>

The distressed mother said this means he is placed in isolation and not allowed any contact with other pupils.

Geraldine said her son suffers from ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia.

Speaking to the BBC Stephen Nolan Show she said: "Until his hair is the way it should be, he has been told he will be in internal suspension.

"He went in on Thursday morning, unknown to him he was pulled aside and told it was an internal suspension and as far as I'm concerned his hair was neat and tidy."

Ms Gillan said she has taken her son out of school because he is not learning anything in isolation.

"Why would I send him to school because he's not learning?

"Being in an internal suspension means he is not allowed to have any contact with any other pupils during the day, he doesn't get out at breaktime and 12.50 he got out for his lunch before the rest of the pupils and back in."

Ms Gillan said that haircuts "have nothing to do with the child's education".

She said: "My child has learning disabilities.  So keeping him off school - is he learning anything? 

"I'm annoyed of course I am surely - would you not be annoyed if you had a child and that was happening?

"I saw nothing wrong with the haircut."

The concerned parent said she hadn't been contacted by the school about the situation.

"The principal has yet to come through to me and say that he was in an internal suspension.

"It's a joke the whole thing is a joke.

"What has his haircut to do with him learning?

"There are girls coming into school with fake tan, make up and bleach blonde hair and not a word about it.

"Why would I send him today?

"Can you grow hair over the weekend that has a small line? It looks like a scar that's all it looks like.

She added: "I send my son to school to be educated. "

The school's principal Brenda Mussen said: "We have a uniform policy at the school, and we have found that it has always had the support of parents. We ensure that all pupils are aware of the policy and the potential outcomes if they are in breach of the policy.

"We are sorry to hear that a parent has an issue with how we have handled a particular situation and we would encourage her to contact the school so that we can deal with the  matter on a more personal level."

This is the second similar incident in the past fortnight as last week Henry Miskimmin (14) 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.

Read more: Northern Ireland grammar school puts pupil in isolation over haircut

Meanwhile the Northern Ireland Children's Commissioner said the policy of isolating pupils was "wrong".

Koulla Yiasouma, commenting on the case of the Miskimmin family told the BBC it was "denying the child his right to education".

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