AN 11-YEAR-OLD boy was kicked out of school on his first day for having an "extreme" haircut, claims his mum.
Aimee Mason, 32, said her son Jaylen Mason was isolated from the class at his new school because his hair was too short.
Jaylen, who started year-seven at Robert Clack School in Dagenham, Essex, was then allegedly told he might have to stay in isolation until his hair grew back.
She added, the issue was with the sides of his head where it was "shorter than a number two cut" and deemed unacceptable under the school's uniform policy, reports EssexLive.
Aimee would later be told the policy on the school's website was an "issue" and something they later acknowledged "was a technical omission".
However, she claims the harsh action towards her son was a form of racism and showed a lack of understanding of Afro hair.
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Aimee explained her son's hair holds a deeper significance as it's a connection to his dad who died when he was only two-years-old.
“I know that if Jaylen's father was still alive now he would not have even really wanted us to shave the sides, he really wanted Jaylen to keep that connection to his culture," she added.
"We are not talking about just a fashion hairstyle. These things come with history, a sensitive history that is important to understand.
"There's so much more to him having those cornrows, Jaylen’s hair is so important. There is a much deeper kind of meaning and connection than just the obvious.”
The next morning Aimee went into the school with her son and says she had "no intention of giving them any leg to stand on".
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She said: "I told them everything. I said that it wasn't acceptable.
"You affected my child's mental health, socialising, and his education on his first day of school. You cannot take that back.
"The rule saying that they can't have anything less than a number two haircut, including a fade, actually disproportionately affects Black people, which is not OK.
"That in itself is still a form of racism because it shows a major lack of understanding of Afro hair.
"For most Black people that I know, getting their hair done is traumatising, painful, time-consuming and costly.
Racism is uncomfortable but it's a learning process
"We're not saying that [the school] did this out of malice or intentional racism.
"Racism is uncomfortable but it's a learning process. Sometimes things are going to be racist, even if you don't mean it to be, and it is for you to then learn and change that going forward.”
The first meeting with the school didn't come to a conclusion and Aimee ended up sharing her experience online.
The post gained a lot of attention which prompted a second meeting – this time with the headteacher, members of the school's governing board and a member of the local council.
Aimee said this meeting was where things started to get better as she praised headteacher Russell Taylor for his compassion and understanding as he was "clearly upset by what had happened".
She claims Mr Taylor said Jaylen's hairstyle was not "extreme" and shouldn't have been noted as a breach of school rules.
Mr Taylor said: “The school head and chair of governors have met with the family and have reached a satisfactory conclusion.
"We have acknowledged that the issue of the policy on the website was a technical omission for which we have apologised.
"As a school, we have a responsibility to our pupils and accept that Jaylen should not have had to stay in our Learning Support Centre on his first day.
"I have since spoken to Jaylen and apologised for any distress he may have felt, and he has reacted positively.
"As head, I have made it clear that Jaylen should not have been asked the questions he was asked, and the member of staff concerned has since been spoken to.
"We have offered our apologies to the family for the distress this may have caused and once again, we tender our unreserved apologies.
"The welfare of our young people is of paramount importance, and I am glad that the family has committed to work with the school in future, and we are certain that, together we will ensure that Jaylen is successful and happy at Robert Clack School.”
Jaylen has since received a verbal apology from the school and gets to keep his haircut.
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