That’s extreme! Stalham schoolboy ‘told he faced suspension’ following charity head shave

Joseph Prentice with his father Neil after his charity head shave. Picture: Katy Prentice

Joseph Prentice with his father Neil after his charity head shave. Picture: Katy Prentice - Credit: Katy Prentice

A selfless schoolboy who grew his hair for two years ahead of a charity shave to raise money for his local youth club was told he would be suspended from the classroom after his new-look was branded 'extreme', according to his family.

Joseph Prentice before his charity head shave. Picture: Katy Prentice

Joseph Prentice before his charity head shave. Picture: Katy Prentice - Credit: Katy Prentice

Fourteen-year-old Joseph Prentice was approached by a member of staff at Stalham High School after taking part in the fundraiser at the Touching the Cloth Motorbike Rally at Frettenham last Saturday.

He raised around £100 for Stalham Youth Club and almost £250 for the National Association of Disabled Bikers, the charity set up to convert motorbikes for amputees after braving the crowds, despite registering on the autism spectrum.

Joseph's proud mum Katy Prentice said: 'Joseph was so brave and did so well having his hair shaved. In our opinion, Joseph should be commended for doing such a selfless act and raising funds for charity.'

But she added: 'The school told us Joseph's haircut was extreme, and we should have informed him directly that he was planning a head shave, as he would have basically told him the consequences would be suspension.'

Joseph's father Neil, who has suffered from alopecia since the age of 12, branded the school's comments 'totally offensive'.

The schoolboy's family, who insist they did alert the school in advance, pointed out that before he had his hair cut it reached halfway down his back and he had been bullied for having long hair.

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Mrs Prentice said: 'At Christmas Joseph had asked to put posters up in the school to advertise his head shave and get sponsors for the local youth club, but the school would not. He took posters in for the staff room as that was the only place he could advertise his charitable event.

'Joseph's father has suffered from alopecia since the age of 12, and finds the comments totally offensive.

'In the past he has been refused jobs due to his shaven head, as he didn't look acceptable. This prejudice is not helpful and not constructive. The school should be accepting of individuality, not dictating it.'

She added: 'The school has not suspended Joseph but has said if he has it kept shaven he will be suspended for having an extreme hair cut.'

Stalham High School, which is part of the North Norfolk Academy Trust (NNAT), confirmed its policy is clear and 'no extreme colours or hair styles are allowed'. It pointed out its policy is available on its website and all students and parents are fully aware of the school's expectations.

Dr Andrew Richardson, Executive Headteacher at NNAT, said: 'The Assistant Headteacher has interpreted this rule appropriately and suggested most politely to student and parents that the hairstyle is not in line with the policy.

'He is absolutely right to suggest that the parents should have informed the school that it was the student's intention to act in a way contrary to the rules.

'Schools have expectations and rules of behaviour and appearance which prepare students for adult life and the world of work.'

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