Should the school just mind their own business?
When your 11-year old son shows an interest in his appearance you are going to grasp it and run with it aren’t you? After all, most 11-year old boys would forget to put their pants on if you didn’t remind them.
But when a sports loving boy decided to emulate his favourite soccer hero and copy his hairstyle, he never expected this reaction.
11-year old Joe Head attends Pope Paul Catholic Primary School in the UK. He asked his mum to style his hair like Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovich – a piece of hair pulled back in a ponytail.
His mother indulged him, thinking nothing of it, until she received a note from the school’s head teacher Helen Lines saying she did not feel the style was suitable for school, and she was "given to believe [the hairstyle] is associated with drug-taking".
The style – what we would call a “rat’s tail” had offended the delicate sensibilities of the teachers.
Joe’s mother, Mandy told the BBC,
“Joe is 11-years-old and he likes football and rugby. He is a typical sporty lad but he really likes fashion as well and is always changing his hair. He decided last weekend that he wanted to put it in a ponytail and I didn't see a problem with it.”
She says she was shocked at first when the note came home, and after thinking about it for a while was offended.
“When I got the letter I thought it was ludicrous. To link an 11-year-old to drug taking because of his hair is ridiculous.
“I became upset that she could associate drug-taking and my son in the same letter and it became offensive.”
The next day she sent Joe off sans ponytail – but told the BBC she still wants to meet with the school to see what the fuss was all about.
In a statement from the school the head teacher said, “"The school sent a polite request to Joseph's parents regarding his appearance. I'm sorry if this letter has caused any unintended upset and would be happy to discuss it with the parents directly."
“Oh no I just let my 8 year old get a Mohawk and a pattern shaved on the side of his head Will be sure to check his bag for drugs before school this morning,” wrote one on the Today Show’s Facebook page.