A mother has accused a London boys' school of discrimination after her 12-year-old Rastafarian son was ordered to cut off his dreadlocks.
Chikayzea Flanders was told that if he did not cut off his hair he would face suspension. Fulham Boys School said that the boy's long dreadlocks breached the school's strict uniform policy.
After Flanders was placed in isolation as punishment for his Rastafarian hair, his mother took him out of school and eventually moved him to nearby Hurlingham Academy.
The boy's mother, Tuesday Flanders, has set up a petition calling on the school to change its hair policy, which she describes as "discriminatory."
Flanders says her son's dreadlocks are part of his Rastafarian culture and religion.
"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," she told the BBC. "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."
Flanders said she felt "insulted that the school is asking my child to cut his hair to suit their needs" in the petition statement.
"I strongly believe that all schools should be made to change their policy as it is discrimination and an injustice," she wrote.
The head teacher at Fulham Boys School, Alun Ebenezer, told the Evening Standard that the school is not racist. "We are not a racist school in any way, shape or form. But we have a distinct culture and when boys come to the school we expect them to respect that culture. We are strict and no nonsense which is why we are ridiculously oversubscribed."
He added that 7% of pupils are Asian, 10% are black African and 13% are black Caribbean.
One parent agreed with the school's policy, telling the BBC: "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 hairstyles."
But others were less understanding, with protesters gathering outside the school. Vivian Mills said: "I'm completely appalled that in so-called modern times the school would implement such a policy. Its leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It's absolutely disgraceful."