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Baldness as a Disability


James Campbell, a retired teacher from Stirlingshire, Scotland, lost his claim in court that he was a victim of disability discrimination. According to BBC NEWS, Campbell, 61, said that his baldness was a disability that had a "substantial and long term adverse effect" on his teaching ability.

He told the Glasgow court that the students equated his baldness with weakness, and that he shunned school hallways to avoid hearing students shout “baldy.” Since the students were able to taunt him to his face, he believed they were capable of assault. “How can I stand in front of a class with confidence to get on with my job when I am getting teased and bullied about baldness, when I think they are laughing at me all the time,” said Campbell who has also charged that he was dismissed unfairly, a claim that will be heard at a later date. In their defense, the local government said baldness was not covered by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

Tribunal judge Robert Gall said, “If baldness was to be regarded as an impairment then perhaps a physical feature such as a big nose, big ears or being smaller than average height might of themselves be regarded as an impairment under the DDA.”


Thankfully sense has prevailed. If the teacher James Campbell has a problem there should be other ways of addressing the issue.

I was bald before I was 35. I am now 51. At 45 I taught (under a one-year contract) at a high school where 1500 pupils voted me guidance counselor. The following four years at another school I was consistently told, to my face, I was THE MOST LIKED TEACHER. The school director, sporting a "comb-over", went to battle with me over trivial issues until I requested and got a transfer in February. At the new school (with a great director sporting a full head of - white - hair) I get almost daily comments that, once again, I am THE MOST LIKED TEACHER. This has nothing to do with hair or lack of it. It has to do with the self-confidence that comes with genuinely caring for those pupils. Perhaps balding early was my advantage!

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  • Bob Graham: I was bald before I was 35. I am now read more
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