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YOU CAN'T WEAR BRAIDS TO OUR SCHOOL .. YOU AREN'T BLACK.

Byline: EMILY NASH

PUPIL Olivia Acton was banned from class after staff ruled her braided hairstyle could only be worn by black children.

Teachers sent the 13-year-old home because her tight plaits were "too extreme" for the strict school uniform policy and told her not to come back until her hair was loose again.

But two other pupils can wear the braids as they "reflect their Afro-Caribbean culture".

Angry dad Michael and his wife Jane, both 46, branded the decision by head teacher Allison Crompton discriminatory.

Gardener Michael said: "I'm disgusted. The head is saying it's extreme for her to have braids.

"She says she's not being racist but how can she discriminate between a white person having a haircut like that and a black one? If it's extreme for one, it's extreme for another.

"She said if we can prove Olivia is of Afro-Caribbean descent, the hair would be fine.

"If it has to go to court for racial discrimination then that's what we will do."

Olivia, of Alkrington, Gtr Manchester, got the plaits on holiday. She is studying at home since being barred from Middleton Technology College.

Miss Crompton confirmed braids as fashion were banned.

But she added: "If we didn't allow leeway for cultural and ethnic background I think that would be discriminatory."

Local council education spokesman Colin Lambert, said: "The school should concentrate on what goes into students' heads, not on them."

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BAN: School and Olivia
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 18, 2005
Words:242
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