A mom says she may be forced to say her eight-year-old son is non-binary so he can keep his famous long curls in middle school. Model Farouk James, who has walked catwalks in New York and Florence and appeared in campaigns for Guess, has so many Instagram followers he’s likely to be stopped in the street and asked for a selfie. But the little boy is facing a fight to save his trademark mane and his identity after three secondary schools told his mom they will not accept him if his hair stays that long. Mother, Bonnie Green, 41, has launched a campaign to challenge what she says is ‘prejudice’ against her son and all other boys with long hair.
Her petition demands that the government stops schools from forcing boys to keep their hair cut short, under what she calls an ‘old Victorian law’. The mother, of Fulham, West London, told Metro.co.uk: ‘It’s not just for him it’s for lots of boys. I’ve had parents calling me saying how traumatising it’s been for their child who’s been forced to cut their hair in Year 6.
Some of the children are just devastated. They’re going into secondary school. It’s enough pressure as it is. ‘You are going to be very vulnerable at that point in your life, and to add to your vulnerability, an institution is forcing you to cut your hair like you’re joining the military. ‘As a woman, if I was told to cut my hair, I would be absolutely traumatised going round with a number two haircut for five years. ‘It’s just not good for their mental health, I can’t see how it is a positive thing. I just can’t believe this old Victorian law is still a part of school policies.’ Bonnie started contacting secondary schools years before most parents as she suspected there would be an issue with Farouk’s hair. But the mother has become so exasperated, she is considering claiming her son is non-binary so he can keep his hair – which goes past his bottom when it’s straight. ‘Applying for a mixed school, I may just put him down as non-binary,’ she added. ‘I have been trying to think of loopholes and think how can I get him in.
‘The mixed schools I have been looking at have policies which clearly differentiate between boys and girls.’ At his primary school, he has been allowed to grow it as long as he wants, provided it does not cover his eyes. But photographer Bonnie says little Farouk is terrified at the prospect of having to chop it all off and to do so would be ‘taking a piece of himself away’. ‘Two years ago I started trying to prepare him that this would happen,’ the mother added. ‘I tried everything to coax him into it but he has been adamant now for two years that if he has to cut his hair he will not go to school. ‘But his views are becoming more stronger, his personality is definitely formed. He just doesn’t want to cut it.