Rye girls ‘excluded’ for dyeing hair in fundraiser in aid of step-brother

Shalimar and Kira Skinner
Shalimar and Kira Skinner

A mother claims her two daughters were punished at school for dyeing their hair in a bid to raise money for their disabled step-brother.

Sherry Skinner, of Marley Road, Rye, said 13-year-old Shalimar and 11-year-old Kira got into trouble at Rye College this week when they carried out the fundraiser.

She said: “Kira was excluded on Monday (June 12) and told she will remain so at school until her hair is back to normal, to which I responded it will be a few weeks. People have paid money and want to see the outcome.

“I suggested I keep her home and collect work. The school said if I did that I would be fined. So they can exclude her and keep her in a room without proper teaching but I can’t teach her at home and give her one-to-one attention.

“The school said Shalimar’s hair wasn’t as bad and she could stay but I did say Shalimar’s will be added too, as people want to see more. So it was suggested the same would happen with her.

“Both girls are supporting Mason in getting a 4x4 chair to give him a better quality of life. The leisure centre, Tilling Green Residents Association and lots of locals have fully supported us along the way. We are trying to raise £15,000 and so far around £2,000 has been raised, with more coming in every day.”

Sherry’s 11-year-old stepson, Mason, has a rare form of muscular dystrophy, called collagen VI deficiency.

He has to use an electric wheelchair. But the type of chair means Mason is limited as to where he can go.

Ian Gillespie, acting principal of Rye College, said: “We enthusiastically encourage students to respect, care for and support those in need. Indeed, 163 of our girls have just raised more than £4,000 for Cancer Research UK through a Race for Life event. We have an email trail discussing Mrs Skinner’s request for her girls to dye their hair in aid of raising money. There are many ways to raise money, without contravening school rules set out by governors. Despite this, in view of the nature of the request, we agreed to allow the girls to dye their hair at the end of the summer term so it could be washed out by September. Mum agreed to this but unfortunately, without further communication, the girls arrived with pink hair at the start of this week, only one week into term six.

“Mrs Skinner was asked for the girls’ hair to be returned to their natural colour, but she refused. Reluctantly, the head of Key Stage took the decision to request internal exclusion as would be normal in this type of situation, while the issue was resolved.”

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