A mother is furious that a teacher shaved her teenage daughter's armpits in front of two other girls in a classroom as part of the school's "life skills" programme.
Melissa Woods said 14-year-old Taylah came home "extremely upset" after being made to shave and told she "will get picked on" if her underarms are hairy. Wangaratta District Specialist School in Victoria, Australia, said that lessons on personal care are part of the curriculum, but Ms Woods said she never gave permission for her daughter to be physically shaved.
"I spoke to the teacher the very next day and she told me she has the right to do it, it's part of the curriculum," Ms Woods said. "I wasn't satisfied with that so I went to the principal and sent her a letter. She wrote back saying... she regrets that they didn't have a permission slip for me to sign." Ms Woods said her daughter has a condition called microcephaly, a neurodevelopmental disorder, as well as ADHD. She added that Taylah has in the past expressed apprehension towards shaving.
"She's seen me do it and she's told me before this happened that 'I don't want to do it'," she said. "I said to her: 'That's fine. I have no problems with it. You come to me when you're ready.' But when the school did it I thought, 'No, that's invading her rights as a person to decided whether she wants to get it done or not.'" Ms Woods said a practical demonstration was unnecessary as "at 14, she hardly had any hair there anyway".
Includes audio interview with Ms Woods.