Parents’ protest after school bans nail extensions because pupils ‘can’t pick up pens’
Nail extensions have been outlawed by a school because ‘extreme’ designs left students unable to pick up pens.
Parents were contacted by letter stating the fake nails were getting so out of hand they were impacting on some children’s education.
But move sparked fury among some who threatened to withdraw children from the school after a group of budding beauticians were barred from a health and beauty placement due to their acrylics.
Gracie Fish, 15, a pupil at Burnside College, Wallsend, was ordered to remove her “dead natural ” green gel nails on health and safety grounds before a week-long placement at a college in nearby Newcastle.
But her mum refused, with the GCSE pupil instead ordered to spend the week in isolation, ChronicleLive reports.
Officials say the teenager could have simply just removed the nails and been allowed on the course.
But her furious mum Samantha branded the decision bonkers.
“I just don’t see what part of this is health and safety, especially as she’s doing health and beauty,” claimed the angry mum.
“The school claimed they had to be taken off because she was representing the school, but I think she’s been discriminated against. How does this stop her doing a job, especially one to do with beauty? It is pathetic, and she was devastated.”
Around eight pupils are understood to have been handed the ultimatum shortly before the course was staged as the 1,060-pupil school broke up for the summer.
But parents were told of the ‘no nails’ rule months earlier.
In a letter sent in March, parents were told: “We are currently in the process of revising our whole school uniform policy due to the increased number of students attending school wearing acrylic nail extensions.
“Some students are unable to fully access the curriculum and in extreme cases are unable to use a pen, having a detrimental effect on their learning. After the Easter holidays, students will no longer be allowed to wear acrylic nails or nail extensions.
We would greatly appreciate your support in ensuring students have these removed prior to returning to school after the Easter break.”
It added nails should be a “sensible length that will not affect participation in PE or practical subjects”. Students were warned they faced “appropriate sanctions” if they didn’t.
But Gracie was baffled why it should have stopped her from doing the college placement – especially as she thinks she would wear the nails if she embarked in a health and beauty career.
“I was annoyed and confused, but basically they said it was a health and safety problem if I got my nails caught but I wasn’t going to be doing anything that would take my nails off,” said the teenager.
Mum Samantha admits she saw red and pulled her daughter from the school, which Ofsted last stated requires improvement.
“I lost my temper and said she’s not going back in September,” added the 46-year-old.
“But I want her to do well in her exams, so she will. As a parent I probably should have just taken the nails off, but that was defeating the object – if you do that, you give them what they want.
“These were not some big Jerry Springer-style nails you used to see on some of the lasses on there, they were dead natural-looking. “And what 15-year-old doesn’t have gel coloured nails?”
But according to the school’s head, no 15-year-old should have them on at his school.
“We have not yet received a complaint from any parents on this issue. However, the rules are very clear that acrylic nails are not permitted to be worn at school and our students and parents are aware of this,” said Daniel Jamieson, headteacher at Burnside College.
“Fake nails can cause injuries if they are ripped off and they can also hinder a student’s ability to participate fully in lessons which has a detrimental effect on their learning.
“The school would be failing in its duty if we allowed them to be worn. They are unsuitable for the classroom and for the vast majority of workplaces as well.
“We work closely with parents and carers so that people understand why the rules are important and we make sure we follow these consistently to ensure that all our students are treated fairly.”