WIBU here, the HT or his students and their parents?

(75 Posts)
RidersOnTheStorm Wed 18-May-16 09:24:40

Friend's DS is 13. He is at a school with a uniform policy which he always complies with. He also has long hair which was not against the school's uniform policy when he joined.

New HT this term who is bringing in a new uniform from September (blazers FFS - back to the 50s). He has also been making noises about the boys with long hair. It's a Health and Safety issue, he says, and is stopping them in the corridor and telling them they should cut their hair in quite a bullying manner. Girls are still allowed to have long hair and nothing is said to them.

Friend's DS - M - says he will not cut his hair and several of his friends are of the same mind. Their parents are backing their stance. M wants his mother to write a letter to the HT telling him to stop harassing him about his hair because he won't be cutting it.

To me it seems very unfair to introduce a new policy and expect those already there to comply - but I put it to the MN jury. WIBU.

WorraLiberty Wed 18-May-16 09:30:57

The HT is BU.

There is no health and safety issue with long hair, especially one that only affects boys. Obviously he'll need to tie it back for certain lessons, but then so will the girls.

As an aside, are blazers really 1950s?

Every single senior school around here and in surrounding areas has blazers as part of the uniform.

budgiegirl Wed 18-May-16 09:40:09

No problem with the blazers IMHO, all the secondary schools round here wear them.

Hair is more difficult. I don't think it's an issue to change uniform, and if it was an all-boys school, it would be fine to say hair must be short. But it seems very wrong to say boys cannot have long hair but girls can, and on that point only, I think the HT is being unreasonable .

HermioneJeanGranger Wed 18-May-16 09:40:49

He is BU about the hair. If girls are allowed long hair, so should the boys. He could make a policy that it has to be tied up, but otherwise it's just sexist.

But I don't think blazers are very 1950's. A huge number of secondary schools have blazers.

SoupDragon Wed 18-May-16 09:41:27

HT is being unreasonable about the hair. If it is not a H&S issue for the girls, it is not a H&S issue for the boys.

LizzieMacQueen Wed 18-May-16 09:42:40

Blazers are fine.

Long hair, well he may have a point on Health & safety but that would have to apply to both boys and girls. I would support a HT who insisted on all long hair being tied back for science and PE lessons.

Bogburglar99 Wed 18-May-16 09:43:16

Why is it a Health and Safety issue? If it's long enough to get into food or set alight by a Bunsen burner (do they still have those?) then it needs to be tied back. End of story.

Does he have any Sikh lads in the school?

TheWitTank Wed 18-May-16 09:44:57

Very unreasonable about the hair. As long as it's tied back neatly (boys and girls) I don't see an issue at all.

BertPuttocks Wed 18-May-16 09:48:24

The HT is being unreasonable about the hair. If long hair is tied back it shouldn't be a problem for boys or girls.

Most secondary schools around here have blazers. My DS finds the pockets useful for carrying all his clutter around with him.

t4gnut Wed 18-May-16 09:51:25

My eldest looks like a wookie - he ties it back for PE, science etc same as the girls.

HT is being a sexist twat and needs to be pulled up sharp on it.

RidersOnTheStorm Wed 18-May-16 09:51:52

Good point about Sikh DCs. Yes, there are some, I doubt he'll tell them to cut their hair.

Blazers - I had to wear one and I think they are awful, uncomfortable and impractical. I made sure DSs went to non-uniform schools, I have strong feelings against uniform as a parent and as a teacher.

Thanks for the opinions. I think the HT is on a hiding to nothing with this policy.

Birdsgottafly Wed 18-May-16 09:53:55

He can't bring in a new rule that goes against one gender.

There's only dilemmas over these issues, are when the rules were imposed before the Equality Act.

Stick with the Discrimination arguments. I'd worry about other changes and attitudes to Gender stereotyping.

He can't ban long hair on boys, if it's tied back, it's indirect discrimination towards some cultures.

If he'll allow it on religious grounds, then the H&S issues need to be clarified, ahead of the event and you can bet they don't make sense.

AugustaFinkNottle Wed 18-May-16 09:56:04

Blazers may well be the norm in schools, but they are extremely silly and impractical garments. I wonder how many of the people saying they are fine wear them routinely to work?

TeenAndTween Wed 18-May-16 09:58:28

I think blazers are great as the kids use them to carry their phones, planner, pens, timetable, keys etc. No excuse for forgetting stuff.

GoblinLittleOwl Wed 18-May-16 09:59:13

If I were Head Teacher I would insist that all pupils with long hair wore it tied back during the school day for health and safety reasons (science, PE, stopping spread of headlice).
Don't knock blazers: warm, so many pockets, can be worn inside and out, and they do look smarter than the ubiquitous anorak.

nobilityobliges Wed 18-May-16 09:59:46

Agree that it's discriminatory to ban long hair on one gender rather than the other, and that rules on tying hair back should also be the same for both genders. The H&S argument is plainly ridiculous if girls are allowed long hair. Honestly I'd just write a brief letter pointing this out and pointing out the school has to comply with section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998.

SoupDragon Wed 18-May-16 10:01:15

Blazers may well be the norm in schools, but they are extremely silly and impractical garments

How are they silly and impractical?

Given the traditional teenager doesn't wear a coat, they are very practical.

Arfarfanarf Wed 18-May-16 10:06:04

Go in all concerned and anxious and say how worried you are about the risk of long hair and ask to see the risk assessment and for the head to explain the health and safety issues around boys with long hair and to explain why those risks are absent re the girls.

just to poke the head a bit.

If you were childish.

Like me.

But really you probably shouldn't.

I totally would.

Lovewineandchocs Wed 18-May-16 10:07:00

That issue arose with a school in our area a few years ago. The school, aka the HT, was taken to court for sex discrimination and violation of human rights. The students won.

t4gnut Wed 18-May-16 10:07:34

I would too....

Myinlawsdidthisthebastards Wed 18-May-16 10:08:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nonline Wed 18-May-16 10:11:30

If the (ridiculous) argument about H&S is used, it should apply to girls too.

I hate blazers and am dismayed that all local schools have reverted to them. I was the first year to have a sweatshirt at high school- but students in the years above were exempt from buying new kit.

WorraLiberty Wed 18-May-16 10:13:05

I think blazers are great and extremely practical, what with all the pockets.

Good point about Sikh DCs. Yes, there are some, I doubt he'll tell them to cut their hair

They would have their long hair covered though, so the non existent 'H&S issue' wouldn't apply.

stealthsquiggle Wed 18-May-16 10:16:48

A HT/school can require (as ours does) that long hair should be tied back at all times as part of a uniform code, but they can't make that gender specific. They can require that long hair be tied back for sport/science/DT as a H&S thing, but again, not gender specific.

The clincher for most boys at DC's school is that anyone with long hair has to wear a swimming hat.

ParanoidGynodroid Wed 18-May-16 10:17:04

HT is BU re: the hair. Can't be a H&S issue for one sex only!

I like blazers, though. I actually found mine very practical because I could keep my bus pass, money and pens in its many pockets. That was back in the 80's though (not the 50's!)

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