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A School Ordered This Terminally Ill Girl To Remove Her Favourite Wig And Left Her In Tears

Ashanti Elliot Smith is not expected to live past the age of 15.

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Ashanti Elliot Smith, seen here with her mum, Phoebe, is one of two people in Britain who suffer from Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS).

The genetic condition has left her with the body of a pensioner, and she is not expected to live past the age of 15.
SWNS.com Tony Kershaw

The genetic condition has left her with the body of a pensioner, and she is not expected to live past the age of 15.

A side effect of HGPS is alopecia.

SWNS.com Tony Kershaw

To disguise it, she wears her favourite pink wig. But when she wore it to school, a teacher told her to remove it.

She was told it might encourage other pupils at Oakmeeds Community College, in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, to dye their hair.
SWNS.com Tony Kershaw

She was told it might encourage other pupils at Oakmeeds Community College, in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, to dye their hair.

Her mother was furious.

Phoebe told their local paper, The Argus, that the family could not afford human hair wigs and were donated the bright pink one by friends of the family.
SWNS.com / Tony Kershaw

Phoebe told their local paper, The Argus, that the family could not afford human hair wigs and were donated the bright pink one by friends of the family.

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.

SWNS.com / Tony Kershaw

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.