An angry father whose daughter was told to remove her earrings said the school is ‘persecuting’ her.
Saskia Blaker, from Keystone Close, Worthing, was wearing stud earrings with a small diamante in the middle – but teachers at Durrington High School said these were against the uniform code.
Her stepfather Steve Martin said he classed it as ‘bullying’: “At Durrington High School they are crushing children’s personalities; they aren’t letting them be kids and express themselves.
“They are there to teach my children, not persecute them.”
Saskia bought the earrings with her pocket money over the summer holiday and was looking forward to wearing them at school when she started Year 10.
But Steve, 30, said teachers had threatened to put her in isolation if she did not take them out. On Thursday, he picked up Saskia and her brother Connor after a teacher allegedly told the 14-year-old to remove her earrings or go home.
Steve said the dispute had knocked his step-daughter’s already low self-esteem: “She is depressed by it because she wants to feel like a young girl.
“She said she feels naked without them – those were her own words.”
The school’s uniform code says all earrings have to be 3mm plain gold or silver studs. Steve said the difference with Saskia’s studs are the diamante jewels and they would not pose a safety risk.
He also questioned why teachers are allowed to wear hoop earrings when pupils are not.
He said: “They have to go around like mini robots; they are there to learn, it shouldn’t matter what they look like.”
The family has had other run-ins with the school over the uniform code. Last year, Connor had to have his hair recut after he was told his quiff hairstyle was too severe. Saskia has crooked feet and got a doctor’s note to wear black trainers – but the school would not accept this.
John Fuller, assistant headteacher at Durrington High School, said: “Our uniform policy is in line with our high expectations and reflect the school’s core values. We support all of our students in taking great pride in their appearance with their uniform.
“We work carefully and closely with our students and any issues are resolved swiftly without any further problems, and we are confident in the application of our uniform policy throughout the whole of the school.”