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Progeria Girl Ashanti Smith, 11, Ordered By Teacher To Remove Pink Wig

October 30, 2014

A terminally ill  schoolgirl who suffers from alopecia has been left devastated after teachers forced her to remove a wig she wore to school.

Ashanti Elliott-Smith, 11, wanted hair like other girls but says she was told to take it off because it was pink and could encourage others to dye their hair.

She suffers from Hutchinson Gilford Progeria, a rare ageing disease that makes her look 80. She is not expected to live past her 15th birthday.

The youngster “fell in love” with the wig after her mother’s friend gave it to her last Wednesday.

Her mother, Phoebe Smith, dropped her off at Oakmeeds Community College in Burgess Hill West Sussex, the next day. She says teachers said her daughter looked “glamorous” and “beautiful”.

But just minutes later a teacher told Ashanti to remove the wig.

Miss Smith, 29, from Burgess Hill, said: “She was devastated when they told her to take it off. Her little heart was broken – it is disgusting.

“The wig is bright but she should have the right to wear whatever colour hair she wants.

“She loved the wig because it is big and pink, pink is her favourite colour, and she was obsessed with the wig.

“When I took her into school three teachers by the office said she looked glamorous and beautiful and said how lovely her wig was.

“But as soon as I turned my back they told her to remove it. It was so embarrassing for her.

“It was the first time she wore the wig into school and she has not been back in since last Thursday.”

Ashanti is still contemplating whether to go back to school after half term on Monday.

Her mum added: “If she goes back next Monday, she definitely will be going back wearing the wig.

“They are not going to get my child to take her wig off. If it makes her feel beautiful then they should let her wear it.

“She knows she looks different. She does not have the choice of wearing make up or wearing bows in her hair, so wearing a wig should be allowed.”

Ashanti started at Oakmeeds in September.

Miss Smith continued: “She looks a lot different to other children. We get a lot of bad comments about Ashanti and this knocked her right back.”

Colin Taylor, Headteacher Oakmeeds Community College, said: “Ashanti attended school in a large purple wig which was the first time she had appeared in school wearing a wig or any form of head wear.

“Her Learning Mentor, who meets her every morning and supports her throughout the day along with a Learning Support Assistant, spoke to the Head of Year about it.

“It was agreed by the Director of Inclusion and Head of Year that Ashanti would wear the wig home but not in lessons because it was not cold in the school and she had never wanted to wear one before.

“We tried to discuss this with Ashanti’s mother on Thursday but we were not able to make contact with her.

“We have worked closely with Ashanti’s mother to ensure her wishes that her daughter is treated like all other pupils are met.

“Ashanti is a pleasure to have in the school and we believe we have done everything we can to meet both her needs and her mother’s requirements during the first half term.

“Ashanti has settled well at Oakmeeds.

“At no time to our knowledge did she request special consideration about head wear but we would fully understand it if Ashanti was to need a hat or indeed a wig when the weather gets cold – even indoors.

“In the past other children have worn wigs following serious illness, but ones that were of a natural look – not large brightly coloured ones.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Maria permalink
    October 30, 2014 2:59 pm

    poor child, she doesn’t have long in the world and not much time to express herself never mind have hair on her head like every other girl. But the are health implications to she will get sunburn on her head if she has nothing to cover it up with. What happened to common sense and compassion? or even consideration?

  2. October 30, 2014 5:47 pm

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating and commented:
    Absolutely abhorrent behaviour from those teachers!
    We cant even trust professional people with basic common sense these days, they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for putting this poor girl through yet more trauma.

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