A furious mum has been told that her 12-year-old son has been placed in isolation at school – because she made a mess of his haircut.
Hannah Clews thought her son Niall needed an emergency trim before returning to school – but there was no chance of finding a barber during lockdown.
She did her best, buzzing it to a grade two to one on the back and sides, and giving it a snip on the top, a couple of days before he returned to school on March 22.
But upon his return to school the following week, Niall was told his home haircut was "too short" and not in line with school rules, Hannah claims.
Hannah, 33, couldn’t believe it when her son was put in isolation at St Michael's Church of England High School – despite having had to study at home alone for weeks due to Covid.
Niall, who is in year seven, has been removed from his class to be taught in a separate room and can't eat lunch with his friends or play with them at break.
Mum-of-two Hanna explained: "Niall has curly ginger hair and because of lockdown, it was going all in his eyes and over his ears.
"I'm no barber – I just cut the sides so it looked smart and neat for school as he was getting annoyed with it.
"His haircut is a grade two faded to a grade one, so I'm aware it's against the policy, but again, I'm not a barber and I didn't intend for it to go that short!"
"I'd have thought it looked much more professional to cut it short at the sides than not at all," Hannah added, "but the school have said it's too short and he has to isolate until it grows back to a reasonable standard in line with their policy.
"Everywhere is closed and it looks so much smarter than it did. Also, he has always had his hair at a grade one around the sides and never been picked up on it before.
"He's in an isolation room the whole day, including lunch, and he can't go outside for fresh air. He also doesn't get the practical side of his lessons as it's all online – something that he's done on and off for the past year already!
"Niall has a squeaky clean record and is a very bright child. This has really upset him as he feels he is being tarnished the same as naughty children for something way out of his control.
"He said he spent an entire day last week without speaking a single word. It's not fair."
St Michael's Church of England High School, in Rowley Regis West Midlands, declined to comment
In the 'uniform' section of their official website, it states: 'St Michael’s Church of England High School insists on high standards of uniform.
'St Michael’s Church of England High School seeks to promote a sense of belonging and shared identity through the implementation of its uniform policy.
'Any student who arrives out of uniform; in unsuitable uniform; wearing inappropriate jewellery; or with an unsuitable hairstyle or hair colour may be removed from lessons and their parent/carer contacted. A record will be made in a student’s file.
'If a student persistently ignores the uniform code, the school will need to employ further sanctions.'
Niall remains in isolation and will be expected to stay there until his hair grows back to a length deemed suitable by the school.
Niall's dad, manufacturer Craig Clews, 37, and his mum Hannah have been trying to support him throughout this difficult time.
Hannah, who is currently a full time student, said: "I think at a time where the government and children's mental health charities are pushing for schools to focus on issues surrounding lack of social interaction that these poor kids have had during homeschooling, its extremely damaging to lock a child away from any interaction at all.
"There has been no compassion towards parents struggling in these times and the importance of mental wellbeing for these kids.
"We are doing what we can with the lockdown and I think on this occasion, it could have been overlooked just because of the current circumstances.
"Niall is a tough cookie but he really did not enjoy his time in isolation and he didn't want to go there again today because he can't talk all day or have lunch with his friends.
"They're already struggling with settling into a new school and new friends so it's not making it any easier. I'm just concerned how our kids are being treated when they've been through so much."
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