Published: 11:21, 09 September 2019
| Updated: 12:21, 09 September 2019
A 12-year-old schoolboy was pulled out of lessons for sporting a mohican.
On his first day back at Strood Academy, pupil Ethan Lewis was made to leave his peers and take all his lessons under the supervision of his form tutor for the foreseeable future.
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He was left feeling awkward, frustrated and sad.
The Year 8 pupil has learning difficulties so struggles at school. Sensory problems means he gets distressed when getting his locks trimmed.
His mother Romaine Coonghe said: “The first week of school is a vital time for Ethan, he struggles in social situations so this will put him back even further.
“I feel this is discriminatory as Ethan has partly Afro-Caribbean style hair and partially European hair.
“The school doesn’t seem to understand how difficult it is to keep his hair neat so we try to keep it as short and tight as possible.”
Ethan’s father Russell Lewis styled the mohawk, with grade 0.5 short sides.
Miss Coonghe, of Courtsole Farm, Cliffe, said: “Ethan can’t cope with going to the hairdressers because of his sensory problems. The buzzing of the clippers and the hair in his face really distresses him.
“It is so unfair that he has been humiliated and made an example of.
“It is almost like he is being treated as a criminal - it is too severe.
“He didn’t even want a haircut and it was our mistake for cutting it too short.
“I understand that rules are rules but what difference does 0.5cm of hair make?”
Ethan occasionally does child modelling and his signature mohican often helps him get jobs.
Miss Coonghe said: “He’s had this haircut since he was seven and it was never a problem in primary school, though he was pulled up on it once in January.
“People know him for his mohican.”
The principal of Carnation Road-based Strood Academy has defended her decision to pull Ethan out of classes with his peers.
All youngsters who have flouted the school uniform rules are being taught by their form tutors individually for the next week.
Responding to the KentOnline, Kim Gunn said: “For us it’s about standards.
“At the end of the school year we sent out a letter to parents and then again during the holidays. We detailed exactly what the pupils should be wearing, including uniform, jewellery and hair. We have said no extreme haircuts and the head teacher has the final say.
“I can understand there may be extenuating circumstances but it is a basic ground rule - if pupils think they can get away with haircuts then they will think the teachers won’t mind if they start misbehaving.
“If other pupils see their peers with different haircuts, they will want one too, so all pupils breaking the rules have been removed from their classes.
“They are not missing any learning, they are working with their form tutors.”