Boy Diagnosed with Hair Cutting Phobia Could Be Expelled for His Long Locks

A 12-year-old boy who has never had his hair cut in his life and reportedly suffers from ‘tonsurephobia’, an uncontrollable fear of having his hair cut, has been threatened with expulsion by his school because of his long hair.

Farouk James has never had more than a trim of his impressive mane and his waist-long mane has earned him more than 250,000 followers on Instagram alone. However, ever since he started classes at his new school in September of last year, he has been pressured into cutting his locks so that they reach above his shirt collar, per school regulations. Farouk’s family has sent the school doctor’s notes that show he suffers from tonsurephobia’, an extreme fear of having his hair cut, but the school has apparently chosen to ignore them and enforce its rule.

Photo: Farouk James Modelling/Facebook

“I’ve got tonsurephobia and also narcolepsy which means I easily go into a deep sleep, and they tie together. I can have horrific dreams of my hair being cut off,” Farouk James told Sky News Kids’ Show FYI. “They clearly don’t believe it, they think it’s just a phase, a front to keep myself at the school.”

Farouk’s mother, Bonnie Miller, said that her son has tried going to school with braids in order to comply with the rule, but that has been deemed unacceptable because “interweaving” is forbidden at the London school. Due to not complying with the hair lengths rule, the 12-year-old has already been on detention several times, and may even be expelled.


“I’ve been given detentions because of my hair recently. The first punishment was a half-an-hour detention, then an hour’s detention, then on Friday this week I’ve got a two-hour detention,” James said. “That eventually leads to isolation, suspension, and eventually expulsion.”

Farouk’s mother claims that she knew of the school’s rule before enrolling Farouk there, but was under the impression they would be able to obtain an exemption on medical grounds. Unfortunately, after the start of the school year, the headmaster informed her that her son would be expelled unless he got a haircut because ‘tonsurephobia’ is not recognized as a phobia.


“I’ve been working on my son to try to get him to cut his hair because he loves the school and I really value the education he gets there,” Miller said. “He’s just about to start psychotherapy to overcome the phobia, we really are doing everything possible. Farouk has even told me that if he gets his hair cut his life won’t be worth living. Short of me actually filming me taking him to the barbers and sending that to the school, I don’t know what else to do.”

Asked to comment by UK media, Farouk’s school declined, claiming the need to respect confidentiality when it comes to matters relating to individuals in its community.