Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE - By Natalie Tip­ping ntip­ping@thek­m­ @ntip­pingKM

A teenager who shaved her head to sup­port a can­cer char­ity was shocked when she was told to cover her bald­ness at school.

Mad­die San­ton-Wil­liams chose to brave the shave in aid of Macmil­lan Can­cer Sup­port, which had been in­stru­men­tal in help­ing her mum, Sue Wil­liams, through a bat­tle with bowel can­cer.

Maid­stone Gram­mar School for Girls pupil Mad­die said: “The char­ity is very close to my heart. My mum was di­ag­nosed in Au­gust 2015 and got the all-clear in April 2016.

“She didn’t lose her hair, but it was a very dif­fi­cult time and Macmil­lan helped her a lot.”

The 17-year-old shaved her head on Satur­day, July 15, and has al­ready smashed her fundrais­ing tar­get of £500 by rais­ing £800.

But when she went to school on Mon­day last week she says she was told to cover her head.

She said: “I was ver­bally told to cover my head in or­der not to of­fend any­one by a mem­ber of the sixth-form man­age­ment team, who said she was pass­ing on a mes­sage from the head teacher. I have now had a con­ver­sa­tion with the head­mistress, and she said she does not find it of­fen­sive but would still like me to wear a head­scarf.”

Mad­die, who lives in West Kings­down, feels there is one rule for boys and an­other for girls, adding: “Last year a boy in the sixth form shaved his head and no ac­tion was taken, not even a con­ver­sa­tion with sixth- form man­age­ment. I think this is very sex­ist.”

Maid­stone Gram­mar School for Girls head teacher Deb­o­rah Stan­ley said: “The school has a proud record of sup­port­ing and en­cour­ag­ing pupils’ par­tic­i­pa­tion in char­ity fundrais­ing events. How­ever, this has al­ways been with prior no­tice and per­mis­sion, as we have a num­ber of pupils with var­i­ous on­go­ing health is­sues.

“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. 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.”

To do­nate to Mad­die’s fundraiser, go to tinyurl. com/ Mad­dieKM

Mad­die San­ton-Wil­liams be­fore the shave with her mum, Sue Wil­liams

Maid­stone Gram­mar School for Girls head Deb­o­rah Stan­ley

Mad­die San­ton-Wil­liams with her shaved head

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