A boy who is terrified of getting a haircut is threatened with expulsion from school for being unruly (4 photos)

22 May 2024

12-year-old Farooq James has never cut his hair in his life. He has been diagnosed with tonsurophobia, the fear of getting a haircut, and a sleep disorder, narcolepsy, which causes him to have vivid nightmares about getting his hair cut. However, the administration of the London school where he studies is of little concern.

Farukh entered the new school in September last year. The boy's mother, Bonnie Miller, knew that the school had a strict dress code - in particular, boys were required to wear short hair. However, she was convinced that an exception would be made for Farukh on medical grounds.

“I sent them medical documents 15 days before enrollment, but in October the principal called me and said my son would be expelled if he didn’t cut his hair,” Bonnie says. “He said that tonsurophobia is not a recognized phobia.”

According to her, she asked for a delay of six months - perhaps during this time she could convince the boy to cut his hair or find a way to cope with his phobia.

“I've been working on it, trying to get my son to get a haircut because he loves this school and I really appreciate the education he gets there. We are really doing everything we can, and Farooq is about to start working with a therapist to overcome his phobia.

I even contacted social services and asked if I should cut off his hair in his sleep because that was the only way I could do it. They said they didn't recommend it and that my child's mental well-being was more important. Farukh says that if he gets his hair cut, his life will have no meaning. I don't know what else can be done."

Despite the fact that the boy goes to class with a neat braided hairstyle, the school is not ready to make concessions and demands that he part with his long hair. Otherwise, he faces expulsion in the near future.

"In black British culture, black boys wear braids," Farooq said on Sky News children's show FYI. “I have tonsurophobia, as well as narcolepsy, which makes me easily fall into deep sleep, and they are related. I may have terrible dreams about my hair being cut off.

The doctors sent many certificates to the school confirming the diagnosis, but they clearly don’t believe it and think it’s just a hoax. Recently, they started not allowing me to attend classes. The first punishment was a half-hour detention, then an hour, then I was detained for two hours. This ultimately leads to isolation, suspension and ultimately expulsion.”

Farooq says it's unfair that sixth grade girls are allowed to wear braids but he is not.

“They are allowed to braid their hair, bend it, twist it, they are allowed to have dreadlocks, which is extremely sexist towards me and all the boys who want to have braids and hair like me,” the boy sad. “I don’t want to move to another school and leave the rugby team, I have very good friends here.” But I won’t cut my hair, and everything will be taken away from me.”

Representatives of the school, whose name the family does not want to disclose, told The Mirror that they could not discuss issues related to members of the school community with journalists due to confidentiality reasons. The same rules apply to everyone - this is the official position of the school, and it does not intend to change it.

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