School bars teenager over pink nail polish

FASHION-conscious teenager Robyn Smith missed school this week after teachers saw red over her pink nail varnish.Robyn (15), who is studying for her GCSEs, was among several pupils in trouble over their offending nail polish after their hands were checked

FASHION-conscious teenager Robyn Smith missed school this week after teachers saw red over her pink nail varnish.

Robyn (15), who is studying for her GCSEs, was among several pupils in trouble over their offending nail polish after their hands were checked at the gates of Wingfield School.

Robyn argued that her pale pink glittery polish did not break the school’s ban on “bright colours” and refused to remove her acrylic nail extensions.

Her mum, Alison Brookes, decided to keep Robyn away from school in protest.

The defiant teenager, of Ash View, Munsbrough, complained: “It’s not as if we have flashing lights or loud music on our hands and are distracting everybody.

“It seems ridiculous that I am missing my GCSE classes because of it.

“It says in the school rules that bright colours are not allowed but mine is a very pale pink.

“A lot of the teachers wear nail varnish and make-up so I don’t see why we can’t at 15 and 16 years old.

“This is going to be a black mark on my school record and it’s over such a minor thing.”

Her mum said that she understood the need for a dress code banning gaudy colours but added that the school had gone too far in this case.

“I do agree with them sometimes when I see what colours Robyn has got on her nails, but on this occasion it’s just stupid,” she said.

“She has previously removed bright colours but on this occasion there’s nothing wrong with them and it makes no difference whatever to her learning abilities.

“We’re talking a very pale pink with a few glittery bits right on the end of her nails.

“She’s been doing brilliantly at school—she’s an A-star student and a little bit of nail varnish is not going to make any difference to her work.

“You don’t want kids going to school looking like punk rockers but this is going too far.”

Mrs Brookes, who vowed to keep her daughter out of school until the row was settled, said that pupils’ hands were checked by pastoral officers every day on their way into school and anyone found to be breaking the rules was sent to a pastoral room kitted out with nail polish remover to clean off the polish.

Mrs Brookes claimed the crackdown had only begun since the arrival of current head teacher Russell Heritage, adding: “The previous head, Pippa Dodgson, allowed the kids to express their individuality a bit more and she improved standards.”

But Mr Heritage, said: “We have made some changes to the college policy on uniform, make up and other items—but in this case the student has not been sent home by the college.

“The new policy outlines that only ‘natural looking’ make-up and nail varnish should be worn by students and then only those in Years 9, 10 and 11.

“This is actually a more open view than many schools and colleges which don’t allow students to wear any make-up.

“The student in question was seen to be wearing glittery nail varnish and extensions and was asked to remove the varnish which she refused to do.

“A member of staff spoke to the student’s mother by phone and explained the policy again and said that we were happy for the student to stay in college, but would ask that the varnish was removed for the following day.

“The parent told us she did not support our actions and asked her daughter to return home and she has not yet returned to college.”