Ashanti Elliot Smith, seen here with her mum, Phoebe, is one of two people in Britain who suffer from Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS).
A side effect of HGPS is alopecia.
To disguise it, she wears her favourite pink wig. But when she wore it to school, a teacher told her to remove it.
Her mother was furious.
She also told South West News Service:
[Ashanti] was completely devastated when the teacher told her to take the wig off. Of course nobody has naturally pink hair, but we feel that anything Ashanti can do to cheer herself up is brilliant, and should be encouraged. She already feels different to the other children and has had some mean comments but when she was wearing the wig her friends said she looked lovely.
The school's headmaster has responded to her complaints.
He told the Argus:
In the past other children have worn wigs following serious illness, but ones that were of a natural look – not large brightly coloured ones.
Her learning mentor 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.
But her mother told the paper:
She was so proud of her hair but this has put her on a downer.
It's a pink wig, come on, other children would have understood. I have only got a few years left with her so we want her to live it to the full.