12-Year-Old Threatened With Expulsion Over His Long Hair

A 12-year-old boy of mixed heritage from the UK was punished by his school as a result of refusing to cut his long hair, defying the establishment’s “uniform rules.” He is now risking expulsion.

Farouk James has faced several detentions at his school in London since April despite the fact his hair was braided neatly for school.

The schoolboy, who models and has over 250,000 followers on Instagram, has since been threatened with expulsion if he does not chop off his locks.

Farouk reportedly said this was disrespectful, as “in Black British culture, black boys have braids,” he told First News.

A 12-year-old mixed-heritage boy in the UK faces expulsion for refusing to cut his long, neatly braided hair

Image credits: faroukjames

Punishments by his school began in late April, his mother, Bonnie Miller, reportedly said.

She told LBC: “Today is the first official day that Farouk James is to be punished for having long hair. 

“His request for an exemption based upon cultural and medical grounds have been refused.

“This situation is devastating for us as we have been made aware the road will lead to permanent expulsion if his hair is now not cut.”

Image credits: faroukjames

In a previous interview, published in February, Bonnie told Little Things: “His father’s from Ghana so culturally, his family told me not to cut it until he was three.

“Well, that was part of the cultural thing, so I agreed to not cut his hair until he’s three. 

“But obviously we didn’t expect it would grow as much as it did and it just kept on growing.

“Parents have shown me they have had to chop their child’s hair off, and the devastation it has caused.

“It’s a part of their identity. 

“You are asking someone to take away a huge part of themselves, to fit in to what is socially expected.”

Farouk James argued that his hair was part of Black British culture

Image credits: faroukjames

Bonnie has been challenging school uniform policies since at least 2020.

In January 2020, Farouk appeared on ITV’s This Morning show alongside his mother when he was just eight years old.

At the time, the little boy, who was already working as a child model, was prepared to move to secondary school while his mom expressed being terrified he would be made to chop off his locks due to school regulations. 

Bonnie fought back and said not only were the “outdated” rules discriminatory, but she was also prepared to go as far as declaring Farouk as non-binary if it meant he got to keep his long hair.

Image credits: badmotherblogger

In 2022, the Equality Human Rights Commission published a non-statutory guidance aimed at governing bodies, academy trust boards, education authorities, and school leaders at all schools in England, Scotland, and Wales. 

Hairstyles worn because of cultural, family, and social customs can be part of a pupil’s ethnic origin and, therefore, fall under the protected characteristic of race, the commission states.

It further explains that a school policy that bans certain hairstyles adopted by specific racial or religious groups, without the possibility of any exceptions on racial or religious grounds, is likely to constitute unlawful indirect race, religion, or belief discrimination. 

This includes hairstyles such as (but not limited to): head coverings, including religious-based head coverings and African heritage head wraps, braids, locs, twists, cornrows, plaits, skin fades, and natural Afro hairstyles.

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