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School policy on facial hair for 12yo

(182 Posts)
3at42 Thu 04-Apr-19 15:30:15

Just wondering if others have had similar experiences.
I have been in a back and forth discussion with my sons school on his (limited) facial hair. He is mixed ethnicity, a bit of an early developer puberty wise, and has a noticeable light moustache as well as some hair on his chin. Multiple teachers have asked him to shave but when I checked the school dress code there is no mention of facial hair.
School have told me it’s their policy and they can’t make exceptions.
I think it’s OTT for 12,13,14 year olds - they are just kids going through a perfectly natural process of development.
According to the school I am the only parent that has ever had an issue with this policy,


My son is of course completely oblivious and doesn’t know what the fuss is about - but he also doesn’t want to shave.

It’s a private school if that makes a difference?

LaurieFairyCake Thu 04-Apr-19 15:32:42

Well where's the policy?

MyOtherProfile Thu 04-Apr-19 15:33:26

Definitely ask for a copy of the policy.

MumofTinies Thu 04-Apr-19 15:35:36

Poor kid, imagine teachers telling girls to shave their legs once hair became visable while wearing PE shorts. Why should he be forced to shave if he doesn't want to?

Dueinnov19 Thu 04-Apr-19 15:38:03

Are they going to force girls to shave their legs in the summer, or their arm pits?

As long as the facial hair is kept tidy and clean I dont see how a school can make a fuss about it .

ineedaholidaynow Thu 04-Apr-19 15:41:33

Our school uniform policy states that boys have to be clean shaven. Once DS(14) started to have a small noticeable moustache we got him to shave it off. It's not like he has to shave every day

3at42 Thu 04-Apr-19 15:43:03

@laurieFairyCake I did.
They’ve said that although it’s not written in their uniform code it is their policy - just not written down!

Apparently they are going to review this.

I have made the points about they couldn’t ask girls to shave body hair and was told that they understand my point but this is the policy for the boys.

I find the whole thing pretty disappointing in this day and age - it feels discriminatory because he probably doesn’t have any more facial hair than his Caucasian classmates but it’s a bit more noticeable because of ethnicity.

He is otherwise neat and tidy and always has correct uniform etc

I’ve been asked to put a formal complaint in writing to the headmaster.....

Comefromaway Thu 04-Apr-19 15:43:10

My very blonde pale 15 year old is starting to develop a little ‘tache’. There is no way I am encouraging him to shave just yet due to his asd & general clumsiness. He’d rip himself to shreds.

At the very least in your son’s case it’s racial discrimination. A Pakistani girl friend of Dds has distinctive top lip hair aged just 12. I can’t imagine the distress it would have caused to have been pointed out and demanded to be got rid of.

Childrenofthestones Thu 04-Apr-19 15:44:05

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

3at42 Thu 04-Apr-19 15:47:10

Just to add, if it was written in the policy and I had been aware of it from the outset then I think I would be unreasonable- but they are changing the goalposts along the way in my view.

I spent a lot of time choosing the school and discounted others that I felt were too traditional and not really aligned with a modern environment - this school is otherwise great and takes a really holistic approach to discipline and learning which makes it all the more disappointing I think

GoodMornin Thu 04-Apr-19 15:49:15

I think this is really awful and if it was me I would fight it all the way. They need to be concentrating on providing an education for these kids not telling them to shave

amusedbush Thu 04-Apr-19 15:50:55

I went to school with a guy who had a full beard by 15 (he could buy booze without ID grin) - some people develop early and nobody should have to shave anywhere if they don't want to.

Even in many corporate workplaces men are allowed a neat beard so tell the school he's growing it and to butt out.

JustHereWithMyPopcorn Thu 04-Apr-19 15:52:42

Our school policy also says boys are to be clean shaven, exceptions can be made on religious grounds if you approach the school.

I think the policy might be because a) teen facial hair can look very patchy and scruffy and b) for the slightly older boys it avoids all the weird beards and moustaches in a similar way to they can't have their haircut in certain ways.

Not saying any of this is right btw.

3at42 Thu 04-Apr-19 15:53:23

@Childrenofthestones exactly! This is what I have been trying to get them to understand.

They are imposing outdated and old fashioned stereotypes on this young generation. The hair is natural and outside his control. He’s not embellishing his appearance in any way - I am so frustrated!

We need to encourage our young people to be open minded and curious about things that matter - climate change, politics, preventative health....a bit of bum fluff shouldn’t even register

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Thu 04-Apr-19 15:55:49

That's outrageous! Lots of kids at ds's school had facial hair and it seemed like they were fully grown men at 15. Very strict uniform code but nothing said about facial hair.

MockerstheFeManist Thu 04-Apr-19 15:58:36

It depends how much grief you want. This is fascist nonsense and legally uninforcable.

Headteachers have the right to enforce discipline in school and on the way to and from it. You can take a uniform off when you get home.

Un Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 3:

In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

Article 13:

The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice. The exercise of this right may be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: For respect of the rights or reputations of others; or For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.

Article 16:

No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.

JustHereWithMyPopcorn Thu 04-Apr-19 15:59:51

I don't think you can compare a boy and girl being asked to shave their face. I think a girl would be mortified by that comment due to ridiculous societal pressures on girls NOT to be hairy anywhere but their scalp where as most boys would either not care or even be a bit thrilled that they can actually grow a beard (based on my own teenage DS and his mates).

Can he just use an electric razor, they aren't likely to cut his face up?

Willow2017 Thu 04-Apr-19 16:00:06

Well they need to make up.thier minds.
Its either in thier school policy or it isnt and as it isnt written down in the policy and nobody knew about it then they cant suddenly say it is.

Unless they are making every boy in school shave at the first sign of facial hair it could be discriminatory as your son is darker haired due to ethnicity. Do all the girls with a bit of hair on thier upper lip have to shave to? Bet they dont.

Keep fighting it i would. No way would i want a 12 yr old starting to shave.

Bowerbird5 Thu 04-Apr-19 16:02:22

They haven’t got a policy if it isn’t written. Watch them write one up though. How is it affecting his learning? It isn’t but drawing attention to it might affect his self esteem.

floribunda18 Thu 04-Apr-19 16:03:44

What do these idiots think is the problem with facial hair?

I remember lads at school getting told off for having their hair too short.

TheGrey1houndSpeaks Thu 04-Apr-19 16:04:37

Well, it’s hardly “outside his control”, is it? He’ll presumably get a haircut when he needs one, even though it’s not his fault it keeps growing.
It would be unusual indeed to allow Year 7’s to wander round with full facial hair.

Lovemusic33 Thu 04-Apr-19 16:06:08

I would fight this, I don’t see why it’s an issue, I bet they have staff that are not clean shaven? My daughter has dark hair and has a noticeable moustache, she has ASD and is totally oblivious, it’s hard enough trying to get her to shave her arm pits once every couple of weeks.

I don’t really see why facial hair is an issue.

clairemcnam Thu 04-Apr-19 16:07:14

I suspect this too is about avoiding all the fashion statements boys can make with the way they style a moustache or beard. Not relevant for a 12 year old, but it is for a 17 year old.

clairemcnam Thu 04-Apr-19 16:07:59

Girls do not make fashion statements by the way they partially shave legs, so the comparison is irrelevant.

3at42 Thu 04-Apr-19 16:10:04

@Mockersthefemanist thanks, I think I will quote that in my letter.

@Willow2017 this was my point to them - it’s more visible because of ethnicity which is where the discrimination comes in.

I agree it’s more difficult to make the argument with a comparison to girls but I believe the underlying principles are the same.

@Bowerbird5 it’s not affecting his learning but his relatively early development is affecting his self esteem and has been a bit confusing for him. He’s already 5’7’’ with size 10 feet and was asked to leave the choir for his year group last year because his voice was too deep. The teaching staff tend to expect a lot more from him because he looks a lot older.

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