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Schoolboy, 14, is put in isolation after going to class with his hair in plaits

A schoolboy who went to school with his hair in plaits has been removed from his classes and put in isolation after his hairstyle was deemed ‘extreme’ by teachers.

Lealan Hague, 14, was placed in Exmouth Community College’s ‘reflection room’, where pupils continue lessons in isolation, after teachers said there was an ‘issue with his hair being worn up in plaits’.

The pupil, who regularly plays rugby at the Devon school, decided to tie his hair in plaits over the weekend to keep it out of his face but was told by staff he must instead keep it down.  

His mother Kirsty has now branded the school’s policy an ‘absolute joke’ and believes her 14-year-old has the same right to wear plaits as girls at the school.

Lealan Hague, 14, was put in isolation at Exmouth Community College after teachers said there was an issue with his hair being worn up in plaits

The pupil, who regularly plays rugby, decided to tie his hair in plaits over the weekend to keep it out of his face

The pupil, who regularly plays rugby, decided to tie his hair in plaits over the weekend to keep it out of his face

She said: ‘He has had the same hair cut for the past 11 years but he has been told this morning that because it is up today in a plait then it’s an issue.

‘His head of year said if he had his hair down it wouldn’t be an issue.

‘He is in top set for basically all subjects so it is clearly not affecting his learning. It’s an absolute joke.

‘We personally think he looks smarter with his hair up than down. He plays a lot of rugby so he had it tied up in plaits over the weekend to keep it out of his face and he liked it so he kept it up this morning.

‘When he has his hair down, it does not cover the rest of his head so you can still see he has shaved hair on the sides.

‘Putting him in internal at school means he has to sit in a room all by himself all day. 

‘If he goes to the toilet he has to be accompanied and can only go when all the children are in lessons so he does not be seen. He can’t go to the canteen for his lunch; that has to be done for him.

‘Whether his hair is up in plaits or down and scruffy it shouldn’t make a difference at all. If girls can have plaited hair then why can’t he?’   

It is not the first time the Hague family has clashed with the school over its haircut policy.

The pupil has been told by his head of year if he kept his hair down (pictured) it would not be an issue

The pupil has been told by his head of year if he kept his hair down (pictured) it would not be an issue

Lealan's usual haircut

The school's haircut at home

Lealan’s usual haircut (left) and the haircut which he had a home (right) this March as salons remained closed

In March, Lealan, who had been looking forward to going back to school and socialising with his friends again after months learning from home, was forced to spend his first day back in isolation after having his haircut at home.

Just 45 minutes into the school day, he had been put in isolation after being told his haircut was deemed ‘extreme and too short’.

Kirsty said at the time how she had no choice but to cut his hair herself as salons still remained closed, and that because the blade on her hair clippers had broken she could only give him a zero around the sides, while leaving his longer hair on top. 

The following day Lealan was allowed out of isolation and back into the classroom.

Andrew Davis, principal at Exmouth Community College, explained at the time that the school had high standards around the appearance of the students and Lealan’s haircut was deemed a ‘very extreme haircut’.

However, when the circumstances were explained, he said no further action was taken.

Responding to the latest complaint over Lealan’s hair, Mr Davis said: ‘Our uniform rules are very clear and regularly communicated home to parents and carers.

‘As is the case with many other schools across the country we expect hair to be conventional, do not allow students to have a haircut below grade one or to have extreme differences in hair length.

‘The issue in this case was not about braiding but was about the fact that the braiding ran in a very small strip of hair across the top of their head, combined with a very close haircut of approximately grade 0, across the rest of their head.

‘From what I understand the student in question has previously worn his hair longer and so the shorter nature of his hair on the back and side of his head was not so noticeable.

‘We believe that the amount of very short hair at approximately grade 0 has also increased significantly from previously when we were trying to accommodate the situation with the hair left long.

‘Like most schools, we try to accommodate a range of hairstyles without resorting to any punitive action. This is usually through discussions with parents and carers about what would be acceptable to both parties.

‘When a student arrives at college with an extreme haircut, they are usually placed in our reflection room to continue with schoolwork until parents and carers are contacted and the issue resolved.

‘We regret any disruption to a child’s learning of whatever their ability. However, we have repeatedly made our expectations very clear to all students and their families.

‘School rules are also an important part of a child’s education which enable them to understand boundaries and consequences as they prepare to make their way in the world.’ 


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