Hair row boy gets new style

Robert Hudson and his new haircut
Robert Hudson and his new haircut

A SCHOOLBOY who was taken home by teachers over his haircut has returned to school after his family took him back to the barbers.

Robert Hudson was barred from classes at English Martyrs School in Hartlepool when he arrived one morning with the new cut.

The 12-year-old had the sides of his head shaved while the back was left long.

But teachers said it did not comply with school rules and even offered to pay for Robert to have a more acceptable style.

Robert’s family took him back to the barber’s after being excluded last Wednesday where he was given a shortback and sides.

He then returned to the Catcote Road school on Friday last week.

Robert’s granddad, and legal guardian, Brian Hudson said he had been left “livid” at the whole situation.

Mr Hudson, 58, of the Oxford Road area of town, said: “We decided that his education was more important than a haircut.

“I would describe his new style as a short back and sides. It is not the cost, but the principle.

“I would still say that there is no specification in the school rules about what type of haircut is allowed.”

Robert’s family was informed by teachers he would not be allowed back in class until he had a more acceptable style.

Mr Hudson accused the school of putting his hairstyle ahead of his education and could not see a problem with his previous style.

He added: “We decided to take him back to the barbers against my judgement, but I think more of his education than his haircut.”

Robert’s family were anxious he did not miss any more school than necessary.

The school said its policy on hairstyle was clear about what is and is not allowed, and said students’ appearance was linked to their performance.

Michael Lee, headteacher of English Martyrs RC School and Sixth Form College, defended the move and said parents and guardians are made aware of the rules.

Mr Lee previously said: “The school’s hairstyle policy is in the School Prospectus and on our website along with other policies to ensure that parents/guardians are well aware of the standards we set at English Martyrs.

“The policy clearly states that hairstyles incorporating shapes/patterns are not acceptable and that any student attending with an unacceptable hairstyle will be unable to access lessons in the normal way until this has been attended to.

“In an effort to get Robert back into school, we did offer to pay for another haircut but unfortunately this was rejected by his family.

“Research by Ofsted shows that there is a clear correlation between high standards of behaviour, uniform and appearance and educational attainment and this view is shared by English Martyrs.”