Beds, Herts & Bucks

Potters Bar school's ponytail drugs claim angers mother

Joe Head Image copyright Mandy Head
Image caption Mandy Head said her son was "a little bit of an individual and has his own sense of style"

A mother has branded her son's primary school "ridiculous" after it linked his hairstyle to drug-taking.

Joe Head, 11, wore his hair in a short ponytail in tribute to Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovich.

But Pope Paul Catholic Primary in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, said in a letter the style was "unsuitable" and "associated with drug-taking".

The school apologised for any upset caused and said would be happy to discuss the matter with Joe's parents.

Mother Mandy Head said her son brought the letter home two days after he began wearing the ponytail.

In it, head teacher Helen Lines said she did not feel the style was suitable for school, and she was "given to believe [it] is associated with drug-taking".

Image copyright Mandy Head
Image caption Mandy Head said she could not believe the letter connected the ponytail to drug-taking
Image copyright AFP/getty
Image caption Mandy Head said her son wanted to look like Swedish international footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Mrs Head said at first she had thought the statement was "so ridiculous" she had found it funny.

"But afterwards I became upset that she could associate drug-taking and my son in the same letter and it became offensive," she said.

"I'm not aware of any rules for hair at the school.

"We will discuss it with them, but they didn't have to add drug-taking into the letter."

'Unintended upset'

Mrs Head said Joe went back to school without the ponytail the next day, as requested in the letter.

Image copyright Marissa Jacobs
Image caption Joe's parents Mandy and Peter said they had not been aware of any rules banning pony tails on boys

She said she had contacted the governors about the letter, but not the head teacher Helen Lines.

In a statement, Mrs Lines 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."

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