‘School won’t help my troubled purple-haired daughter until she’s dyed it back’

A fuming mother has claimed her daughter's school have resorted to "blackmail" to get her daughter the help she needs.

According to Catherine Mills, Chipping Campden School will only help with 12-year-old Courtney's mental illness once she's got rid of her purple hair.

Courtney was put into isolation last week for turning up at school with a hairstyle deemed too "extreme" and against the uniform policy.

Mum Catherine, a nurse from Broadway, Worcestershire, went on a furious tirade on Facebook about the school she's accused of "discrimination", having immediately collected her daughter from isolation on Thursday, September 14.

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Catherine and Courtney are now locked in a stalemate with the school – rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted – because the youngster refuses to change her colourful hairstyle, because it helps her with self expression.

She was put into isolation over the look on Friday, September 15, and has been learning from home since Monday, September 18, when her mum once again took her out of school after she was isolated.

"If a teacher decided to dye her hair blue the school are not allowed to fire her becuase its unlawful dismissal …. so why do they think it's OK to isolate and punish my daughter … IT'S DISCRIMINATION!!" Ms Mills fumed on Facebook.

And in a chat with the Daily Star, she claimed school authorities are deploying "almost like a blackmail tactic, anything to try and get her back to school."

She made the claim because despite alerting school professionals to the Year 8's poor mental health and history of suicidal comments, they are still pushing to get her back to classes minus her purple dye.

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"Courtney said she wishes she could be herself and that she would be happier at school if she was allowed to," Ms Mills said.

"She continues to refuse to take the purple out of her hair and I have made it very clear that I will support her decision. I made Courtney aware that even if she takes her hair out we can continue to fight for change in the school uniform policy."

She continued: "I informed the pastoral care teacher that the real issue here is Courtney's mental health, I found several notes that Courtney had hidden saying 'I wish I wasn't here', 'I hate my life'.

"The pastoral care teacher agreed they will support Courtney but she has to remove the purple hair and get back into school for them to help her." Ms Mills did say progress came in the form of a call from the school who said they will "refer Courtney for counselling".

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But she thinks the school's decision on Courtney's hair is a dangerous precedent. She added: "The issue here is how preventing children from self expression is going to cause/increase mental health issues/self confidence and therefore have a knock on effect on their education."

Chipping Campden School has been contacted for comment.

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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