Dress code violation - Bald kid told to lose the hat

Filed under: Teens, Health & Safety: Babies, Medical Conditions, In The News, Day Care & Education, Special Needs

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The last thing most kids want to be is 'different'. From their clothes to their hairstyles, kids tend to copy one another in an effort to blend in and be part of the group. But for some kids, blending in is difficult. 13-year-old Dale Platts knows all about that. At the age of five months, he suffered a severe bout of bronchitis which not only sent him to the hospital, but also caused his immune system to begin attacking different parts of his body. He lost all of his hair as well as his toenails and fingernails - a condition known as alopecia universalis.

According to his parents, Dale was unconcerned about his lack of hair until he reached middle school and the bullying began. Tired of the taunts and name-calling, Dale began wearing a baseball cap at all times. Unfortunately, baseball caps are prohibited by the uniform dress code policy at Robert Pattinson School in the UK where Dale is enrolled.

School officials ordered Dale to lose the hat or be moved out of the classroom and be taught in isolation. They did offer him an alternative to the baseball cap, but Dale says the woolen beanie they suggested causes eczema and headaches. Plus, because the beanie is brimless, it doesn't protect Dale's lashless eyes from the school's fluorescent lighting and dust.

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Rather than expose his bald head or wear the beanie, Dale showed up for the first day of school wearing his baseball cap. He was sent home and has yet to return to school. His mom, Kenina Platts, feels that school officials are being unreasonable. "It's really cruel. I'm outraged the school can be so short-sighted. He wears the hat for medical reasons - it's not a fashion statement. Dale has to suffer at the hands of child bullies. Now the school itself is pressurising him and bullying him. He is too ashamed to take it off. To say he would be taught in isolation is madness. It is like putting him in solitary confinement. It is punishing him for being bald."

I am usually a hardliner when it comes to school dress codes. But I think like everything else in the world, there should always be some room in the rules for the exercise of common sense. If, as the school spokesman says, there can be exceptions to the dress code for religious or medical reasons, I can't see why Dale should not be allowed to wear his hat.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.