A schoolboy from Tipton told his mum he 'didn't want to be black anymore' after he was sent home from school because his hair was considered too short by his primary school.
Six-year-old Josiah Sharpe has what the school called a 'skin fade' style which they say doesn't fit with policy standards.
Josiah's parents say many schools insist that hairstyles should not fall below grade two. Danica Sharpe, Josiah's mum says a grade one can look different on a child with Afro-textured hair compared to a Caucasian child.
A new report published by De Montfort University to mark World Afro Day found the problem is widespread and that thousands of schools have policies which have been described as unlawful and outdated. a survey conduceted by the researchers found that one in six children had have a negative experience.
Professor Sarah Younie, from De Montfort University said:
We wouldn't accept someone with a turban being asked to take it off, nor would we expect a Muslim person to remove a hijab. To this extent we feel it's important to address this issue because these children are sometimes are been sent home from school or being penalised for their African hairstyle.
Michelle de Leon, the report's author said schools need to obey the law. She said:
Schools need to actually obey the law. There is an equality act that says you shouldn't be treating children any differently because they have a different hair type. We have to realise that a school is meant to be a place for nurturing, learning, to get children to feel they are reaching their full potential. What schools are actually doing is questioning their confidence and self esteem as soon as they walk through the door by not accepting that they have a different hair type and that they look different and that they want to be confident in who they are and that can't be good for education.
The school Josiah attends say he was not excluded and that the issue is now resolved.