VIDEO: Sheffield teen not going back to school that excluded her for ‘extreme’ leopard print hairstyle

Lauren Mcdowall, aged 13, from Sheffield
Lauren Mcdowall, aged 13, from Sheffield
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A Sheffield pupil who was excluded from classes because of her leopard print hairstyle is moving school.

Lauren Mcdowall was sent home on the first day of the new term at Forge Valley School in Stannington for her ‘extreme haircut’.

The 13-year-old went back to lessons yesterday with a head scarf covering the leopard print style – but was sent straight home again.

Her mother Yvonne has now taken the year eight pupil permanently out of the school and is in the process of finding her a new one.

She claims the decision not to allow the haircut is a breach of her daughter’s human rights and has refused to change her hairstyle.

But the school said it is a breach of its ‘clear school uniform policy’.

Yvonne, aged 34, of Middlewood, said: “She will never be going back to that school. I compromised and put her in a bandana, which was quite wide and covered the leopard print, and she was sent home from school because it is still under the hairband.

“People are saying that it isn’t a breach of her human rights, but it is. She has a legal right to an education no matter what she looks like.

“She is being discriminated against because of what she looks like and it is a breach of her human rights.”

Yvonne said the hairstyle is a way of her daughter expressing herself after she was bullied.

She said: “She is 13, not five. She loves the hairstyle.

“I have got my happy daughter back who is opposite to the little girl who was shy and hiding and wouldn’t go out because of what she went through.”

Yvonne said she was not aware of the policy around hairstyles and said there were no similar rules in Scotland, where Lauren previously went to school.

She said: “The laws in England and Scotland are different.

“Lauren went to primary school in Scotland and had about six months at primary school in Sheffield. After that it was an automatic transition to Forge Valley. I wasn’t aware of any policy.”

Headteacher Dale Barrowclough said the school has a ‘very clear’ uniform policy.

He said: “This policy is communicated to parents frequently and is available to download from our website. The policy clearly states that extreme haircuts, including hair colour, are not allowed.”

He said that he took the decision to send the pupil home in order to remedy the ‘breach of the school’s uniform policy.’