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Protest held over Fulham schoolboy dreadlock ban

Chikayzea Flanders
Image caption Chikayzea Flanders was told he would have to cut off his dreadlocks or face suspension

Protesters against a ban on dreadlocks that led to a 12-year-old boy moving school have gathered to end "discriminatory policies in schools".

Former Fulham Boys School pupil Chikayzea Flanders was told he would have to cut off his dreadlocks or face suspension.

But his mother, Tuesday Flanders, said the demand was an attack on her religion and culture.

The school said the hairstyle breached its strict uniform policy.

Ms Flanders said: "In my family and in loads of other Rastafarian families, it clearly says your hair must be a sacred thing.

"And it is a sacred thing.

"I felt devastated when the school called up to tell me his hair had to be cut. It broke me down.

"I couldn't believe that in this time, people are still like that - trying to control people and dictate people on how to be and how to live."

Image caption Head teacher Alun Ebenezer said his priority was to ensure pupils were not disturbed by the protest

'Strict standards'

Fulham Boys School describes itself as being built on Christian values, and having a strict uniform and appearance policy.

Head teacher Alun Ebenezer said the school was strict in all aspects including hair, appearance, standards and behaviour and that it had students from a number of backgrounds.

Mr Ebenezer said his priority was to ensure pupils were not disturbed by the protest on Tuesday.

Chikayzea has since moved to a new school in order to keep his dreadlocks.

"It's much better because I finally get to play with some friends," he said.

Image caption Tuesday Flanders said hair was a "sacred thing" to Rastafarian families

A number of parents have publicly backed the school's policy on its website.

One parent said: "I do feel sorry for the young boy in the middle of all this. However, the school clearly states what is expected of the students in dress code and hair styles/cuts."

While another said: "Your strict attention to these standards were well publicised to us as prospective parents and I am grateful that they remain consistent as it enables my son to work within these known boundaries - and he is thriving."

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