A school banned a five-year-old black boy from playing on the playground because of his “extreme” haircut—which his mother said he had to help hide his alopecia.
Birmingham Live reported that Josiah Sharpe, a young student at Summerhill Primary Academy Tipton, UK, was accused of distracting classmates with his fade hairstyle.
Kerry Rochester, the executive headteacher at Summerhill, said school rules bar students from having “hairstyles that will detract from learning.”
Josiah’s mother Danica Sharpe told the news outlet I am Birmingham that the boy was barred from playtime until his hair grew back—and that the school’s rules are culturally insensitive and unsuitable for her son’s Afro-Caribbean hair.
“I spoke to the teacher about it, I’m a hairdresser,” she said. “I offered to give a presentation so they can understand, it’s not being rebellious, extreme or fashion, it’s literally how black boys with Afro hair have wore their hair for centuries to look neat. The Head said the policy is not changing and so far has refused to meet with me.”
Grandmother Dawn Grant-McCalla echoed Danica’s sentiments.
“This style would be acceptable if someone was working in a bank or was a politician,” the grandmother said, “so why not [at] schools?”
Watch an interview with the family below: