Boy, 14, told to shave by school because his facial hair ‘breaks school rules’

A schoolboy has been told to shave his beard and moustache or risk being put in isolation because his facial hair breaks the school's appearance and uniform policy, it has been claimed.

Oliver Parsell, 14, was told he would have to spend time in isolation for breaking the uniform and appearance rules at Somercotes Academy in Lincolnshire.

His mum Katherine insists she doesn't want Oliver to be forced to start shaving and has launched a petition claiming the rule is a breach of her son’s human rights, GrimsbyLive reported.

Katherine says: “I am just a mum fighting for change. My son is 14 years of age, and is not as yet ready to begin the lifelong routine and responsibility of shaving.

"We don’t believe that a school should enforce such policies on children between the ages of 11-16 or even 18 years of age."

Katherine says the school insists being clean shaven is in the guidelines and uniform policy which Tollbar Multi-Academy Trust, which runs Somercotes, has confirmed.

But she also says she has been told that being unshaven is “scruffy” and clean shaven is “smart”.

She said: “I absolutely disagree. I don’t believe that teachers should be going around schools targeting and approaching students to tell them they need to go home and start shaving.

“It is a very personal choice and a very individual characteristic, purely governed by how late or early any child reaches puberty. They have no control at what age their facial hair grows, both boys and girls.

Speaking to BBC Look North, Oliver, from North Somercotes, Lincolnshire, said he didn’t want to shave.

He said: “I was surprised, it was pretty weird that they were telling me to shave. Some of my friends shave and they have sore faces and it looks horrible.”

In the uniform and appearance rules parents and pupils are given a list of what is “NOT allowed at all in an academy”.

One is: “Beards of moustaches, or sideburns below the earlobes”.

A spokesperson for the school said it has a “very clear dress and appearance policy” and exceptions were only made on religious grounds.

The Trust said it was entitled to set its own standards and they were not breaking any rules or breaching pupils’ human rights.

It also said all parents signed an agreement to comply with the school’s policies.

Speaking to BBC Look North, Katherine said: “Oliver was asked to go home and shave what they class as a beard, he has a beard. Initially they wanted to isolate him at any break or lunchtime and he wasn’t allowed to represent the school.

“We’ve pushed forward and he’s allowed to attend freely at school, just like any other pupil, until we can resolve the issue.

“He’s still a child. He’s a young 14-year-old and why should he have to begin the adult part of life which is shaving. It’s a personal, family issue.”

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