Ruby Williams – remember that name, because she will eventually change the world!
Ruby is a 18-year-old teen who was repeatedly sent home from school because of her afro hair (yes, you read that right! We’re living in 2020, and are still dealing with issues like this…), and who wants to make sure that no other schoolchild has to go through what she went through.
Williams was a student at The Urswick School in east London where she was told her hair breached policy, stating that “afro style hair must be of reasonable size and length”.
Ruby’s mom, Kate, didn’t even know about the policy until three years ago when her daughter was sent home for the first time because of her hair.
The then 15-year-old remembers her head teacher saying that her hair was simply “too big”.
„Apparently my hair was distracting to pupils and blocked views of the whiteboard“ – says Ruby.
“I felt like any time I would walk into the school with my hair out, all eyes were on me,” she said.
She tried different hairstyles to comply with the school’s rules like straightening it, braiding her hair in braids, which can take hours to complete and cost up to 100 Pounds, or putting her hair in different types of ponytails and slicking it back with gel.
However, all of these hairstyles cost a lot of money, take a lot of time and even risked damaging Ruby’s hair. That is when she realized that she just had enough!
“Why should I have to cut or change my hair and people can have their hair all the way down to their hips, as long as they want – but because my hair grows out I need to cut it?”
The torture continued, and she eventually developed signs of depression and felt anxious about going to school.
Ruby’s clinical psychologist even sent letters to the school warning them that she was suffering because of the policy, but the teachers or anyone for that matter didn’t offer her any support.
The lack of support wasn’t the only problem. One time a teacher tried to put her own hair bands into Ruby’s hair, and that’s when she had enough.
Ruby ended up getting frustrated and she just said „If it’s too big can you just please send me home? Because this is not OK“.
Ruby Williams received £8,500 in an out-of-court settlement after her family took legal action against The Urswick School in east London. She still insists that UK schools, and schools in general have to have “better guidelines on their uniform policy so that people can’t be discriminated against when they’re walking into school”.
Today Ruby is a confident young woman who has learned to love her hair.
“I’m definitely proud of my hair. I’m proud of the progress that it’s made and the journey that I’ve been on. I’m proud that my hair is ‘too big’.”
This girl hopes her story will confidence to those who might be staying quiet about a similar situation.