Farouk James is a 9-year-old model with over 269,000 followers on Instagram. This is because he has gorgeous, long brown hair. His mother Bonnie Miller first allowed her son to grow his hair as a “cultural” decision, with his father’s Ghanian family encouraging them to not cut his hair at all until he was 3-years-old. However, as he got older it became part of his identity that he didn’t want to part with.
However, Farouk, who lives in London, England, is having trouble finding a high school to attend due to his “unique and beautiful” locks, as most schools prohibit boys from having long hair.
Bonnie believes that the policies on hair set out by high schools are sexist and discriminatory towards children of color.
“It’s a racial issue,” the mom told Good Morning America. “We all know what kind of boys would have dreadlocks and braids. Generally, it’s Black boys or mixed boys. We’re not talking about caucasian children here… it’s very unlikely.”
Bonnie has launched a petition to the Houses of Parliament, asking them to stop the enforcement of such restrictions as they teach “unequal behavior.”
The petition description reads: “My 8-year-old son Farouk has beautiful long hair. Our decision to let his hair grow was initially a cultural one, but then our reasons evolved to be more about identity, and his emotional attachment to his mane.
“But the Christian school my son has applied for is refusing to consider his application unless he cuts his hair. The Equality Act exists to protect all genders from actions like this. But right now, across the country, discrimination is happening to boys with long hair.”
She added: “In a world where people are so scared to be themselves and individual, I wholeheartedly support Farouk’s confidence in being different and hope it can encourage the same confidence in others. I’m so proud.”
This isn’t the first time Bonnie has had to deal with schools picking on her sons for their hair, as her oldest son, who is now in his early twenties, was penalized for his hair as it was too short.
“His hair was cut too short and he got in trouble 3 times and nearly excluded from school for having it too short, to the point where I actually went to the shoe shop and bought some boot polish,” she told CBS News. She had assumed that their policies would have changed after ten years.
“Most of the schools that have these hair policies are Christian schools — which is ironic because Jesus had long hair,” Bonnie said. “So that means Jesus wouldn’t get into those schools if he were around today.”
Her petition now has nearly 7,500 signatures, however, Bonnie is trying to prepare him for the chance they may have to cut his hair if he can’t find a school.
“I have tried to prepare and persuade him that one day for the sake of his education we might need to cut it all off. I thought he would come around, but as the secondary school application process will start in 2 years his passion for keeping his hair has even intensified and he is terrified.”
What do you think about the school’s policies regarding hair?