Anna Gragert
September 09, 2015 3:56 pm

Like most 13-year-olds, Lauren McDowell has been experimenting with her personal style – but her school is not on board with the changes that she’s made.

For some time now, Lauren’s wanted to change her hair and, recently, her mom helped to make this dream come true. To play around with her look, the young girl chose to shave off the hair on one side. She then took it a step further, using brown and blonde dye, to create a playful leopard-print design.

Unknowingly, Lauren and mom Yvonne were going against the school’s strict uniform policy. “The policy clearly states that extreme haircuts, including hair colour are not allowed,” explains Dale Barrowclough, the Headteacher at South Yorkshire’s Forge Valley School.

To make this clear, Lauren was sent home after entering the school with her new ‘do. “‘Lauren was bullied at school and it has taken her a while to build up her confidence,” Yvonne told Metro. “She is devastated.”

To compromise, Lauren went back to school, but covered her hairstyle with a bandana. Even though the leopard-print was no longer visible, the young girl got sent home again.

The supportive parent isn’t only empathizing with her daughter’s situation, she also feels that the school has infringed upon Lauren’s human rights. “She had the hair cut about a week before she went back to school. No one has the right to tell someone what to do with their body. It is her body,” emphasizes the teen’s mom. “She is my child and not theirs. She didn’t sign away her rights when she started at school.”

She goes on to say that the school should encourage its students to be individuals, not to take this form of self-expression away from them. Yvonne also emphasizes that Lauren is being discriminated against based on how she looks, which is definitely not okay. “She loves school. She is not a bad pupil. She works hard. What has her hair got to do with her education?” she asks. “They are refusing my child an education. She was in school wanting to learn.”

Yvonne believes that as long as her child is wearing the school’s uniform, she should be allowed to receive an education and to express herself creatively. After all, isn’t exploring our style a key part of discovering who we truly are? Isn’t it an essential part of growing up?

Since the school has sent this student home not once, but twice, Yvonne has had it. “She will never be going back to that school,” the mom told Yahoo News.

In terms of her current hairstyle: Lauren will not be having it cut to accommodate anyone else’s rules.

[Images via Twitter.]

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