School sparks race row over afro haircuts after banning trims that ‘block views’
Parents and pupils say a school’s haircut crackdown is racist to those with afros.
Pimlico Academy has banned barnets that “block the views of others”.
Head Daniel Smith’s move has caused outrage among some families at the school, whose former pupils include Top Boy TV actor Ashley Walters and Chelsea footballer Tammy Abraham.
One parent wrote: “What does it mean by ‘hairstyles that may block the view of others’?
“You mean afros, right? So it is a rule aimed at a specific group.”
More than 1,000 have signed a petition to scrap the new rule – part of a new dress code announced in mid-August.
Parents are also fuming about having to buy pricey new uniforms just weeks before the new term began.
The school has outlawed chinos and casual shirts, which were previously allowed. Kids are now ordered to wear “formal business suits”.
The academy has faced further accusations of racism for saying hijabs must be black but other clothing can be any colour.
One sixth form student with an afro, said the new policy was “totally unnecessary”.
He added: “People want to be able to present themselves in a certain way but they are just adding stuff in and it’s oppressive.
“A lot of us signed up to sixth form knowing that there wasn’t a policy and now that’s being taken away.”
A female student added: “[The new policy] is racist. It implies afros.”
A spokesman for the central London school said: “The rationale for this is self-explanatory and doesn’t relate to any specific hairstyle.”
He added that the school was keen to create a “professional environment”.
In February, the family of a girl in Hackney, east London, sued her school after teachers repeatedly sent her home for having an afro.
They claimed she had been discriminated against on the basis of race. The school denied it and settled out of court.
In 2018, The Fulham Boys School in west London banned a 12-year-old pupil because of his dreadlocks.
He was allowed to return without cutting his hair following legal action funded by the Rights Commission.
Pimlico’s other famous alumni include former Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson, and former England defender Graeme Le Saux.
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