Mum criticises make-up rule ‘overreaction’

Haven High pupil Shantel Thorn. Photo: supplied.
Haven High pupil Shantel Thorn. Photo: supplied.

A Boston mum has criticised a school’s decision to put her daughter in isolation for ‘wearing too much make-up’.

Sara Thorn began the change.org petition after 16-year-old Shantel was taken out of class and asked if she wanted to ‘tone it down’ by teachers at Haven High Academy.

The petition has been signed more than 300 times.

Mrs Thorn called the decision ‘ludicrous’ and said the school had ‘overreacted’.

Mrs Thorn said the school had taken issue with her daughter’s eyebrows. She said she did not believe her daughter’s make-up was ‘in excess’.

In her petition, she wrote: “I believe that some people wear more make-up than others as it allows them to feel more comfortable and better about themselves.

“This is her final year at school and at such an important time in a young person’s life it’s imperative she is provided with the best chance at an education, which she is not getting in isolation away from the classroom.

“She is not breaking any rules and is not disturbing others in class, so she is being punished for no reason in my eyes.”

Mrs Thorn told The Standard that the school had since apologised and let Shantel back into class. She said the school had told her it was part of a ‘crackdown’.

She added: “At the end of the day, a lot of the girls that put on make-up and who commented on the petition said how confident it makes them feel. Surely if they are confident they will work better. It can be embarrassing making them take it off.”

The school says it is ‘unapologetic’ over its policy, adding that the rules are being enforced at the request of pupils.

Head of the academy Ellie Hextall told The Standard that ahead of the half-term break the make-up policy was reiterated, with pupils told it would be strictly imposed upon their return.

She said the pupil concerned was taken out of class and asked if she wanted to ‘tone it down’ – and was back in the classroom prior to the petition being established.

Adrian Reed, executive headteacher for the Witham Academy, under which Haven High falls, said the policy was being ‘enforced’ to tackle concerns of both pupils and teachers about the amount of some make-up being worn.

He said: “Crackdown is quite a strong word. We are enforcing the uniform rules, which includes make-up being addressed.”

Mr Reed insists that a certain amount of make-up is allowed.

“It’s not that we don’t allow any make-up. We apply a sensible modern approach,” he said.

While Mr Reed apologised for any upset caused to students because of the policy, he said he was not ‘apologetic’ over it being there.

“We are not apologetic for being fair and consistent,” he added.