An 8-year-old has been denied admittance by several schools because of his hair — and now his mother is fighting for a policy change. Bonnie Miller of the U.K. has been on the lookout for schools her son Farouk James could attend in the future, and two won’t allow him in because of his long, natural hair.
One of those schools was The London Oratory School — the same school her older son, who is now 23, attended. “I knew about their bad hair policies,” Miller told CBS News. The mother said she went through a similar situation with her older son 10 years ago — except that time, her son’s hair was too short for the school.
“His hair was cut too short and he got in trouble three times and nearly excluded from school for having it too short, to the point where I actually went to the shoe shop and bought some boot polish,” she told CBS News.
She thought after years passed, their strict policies might have changed — but she found out they didn’t. Farouk’s long hair violated the school’s policy, too.
Miller said both of her sons are mixed race. James’ father is from Ghana and for cultural reasons, the parents didn’t cut his hair until he was 3 years old. “At that point he was attached — and so was I, to be honest — with his beautiful hair,” Miller said. “We just kept the hair.”
She allowed her son to continue to grow his hair, not thinking much about it — until it came to applying for secondary schools.
Now, both of Miller’s school choices for her son seemed out of the question because of his hair. “Most of the schools that have these hair policies are Christian schools — which is ironic because Jesus had long hair,” she said. “So that means Jesus wouldn’t get into those schools if he were around today.”
Miller said she thought about sending Farouk to coed schools, but realized they have strict hair policies as well.
It made Miller wonder about greater issues, she said. “I was thinking about children that are non-gender and gender neutral and trans and thinking, ‘How will they fit into this?'” she said. She wondered if they would also be forced to cut their hair a certain way, based on the school’s policies for sex they were assigned at birth.
“Who decides what’s feminine and what’s masculine? I’ll register him as nonbinary, and see what the school has to say then,” she said.