Maddie Santon-Williams thought that when she shaved her waist-length hair to donate it to charity, her efforts would have been applauded by the school administration.
However, she was shocked to discover that the staff at Maidstone Grammar School felt she should cover up her head with a scarf.
The teen from Kent, England, wanted to make a charitable donation to an organization after her mom survived a battle with bowel cancer. Instead, she believes her new look revealed her school’s “sexist” policies.
Now the 17-year-old is speaking out to raise awareness about the double standard between her shaved head and the boys’ cuts at school.
With the support of her peers, Maddie spoke to SWNS.
“My friends agree with me completely. I sent an email to all the other sixth-formers to see what they thought and got 100 replies saying they thought it was ridiculous,” she says.
See Maddie’s transformation and her side of the story below.
This is Maddie Santon-Williams. The 17-year-old from England attends Maidstone Grammar School for Girls.
A couple of years ago, her mom was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Thankfully, she was cleared of the disease after a year of treatment.
She got through the difficult situation with the help of Macmillian Cancer Support. Maddie wanted to repay the organization for all of their help and support.
Maddie decided to get rid of her long locks and donate them to charity after raising £800 for the organization.
Before she did it, she asked her teacher’s permission.
“My teacher told me they’d run it past the headteacher but I never heard anything back, and it wasn’t my priority to chase them up this time as I only had a week left of term once it was done,” Maddie told Caters News.
Maddie made the big chop, but when she returned, she couldn’t believe the response at school.
“I went back in on the Monday and they told me I had to cover it up with a headscarf so I didn’t offend anyone,” she said.
“There is a girl who has alopecia, but she came up to me and agreed the school were out of order,” Maddie said. “A boy shaved his head last year and nothing was ever said about it, and I don’t think he even did it for charity. It’s not in our uniform code, but obviously it’s all right for boys. I think it’s really sexist.”
The school claims that they don’t believe her head is offensive, but that it may be insensitive to other students with health issues. However, Maddie noted that male students with bald heads aren’t required to wear scarves.
“We therefore asked Maddie to cover her head while walking round the school, although this wouldn’t be necessary in the classroom or the sixth-form common room,” said the headteacher, Deborah Stanley. “At no time was she told that having her head shaved was offensive — we just explained the need to be sensitive about the possible impact on others.”
Regardless of what the school thinks. Maddie has made her dear mother proud and has done a ton for charity.
“My mum was really proud of me for doing it and she had no problems with it at all, my hair was nearly waist length before,” she said.
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