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What Do You Think is an Appropriate Dress Code Guideline for Kids' Hair?

Posted by on Mar. 25, 2014 at 2:10 PM
  • 21 Replies

School Bans Girl Who Shaved Her Head to Support Friend With Cancer

by Jeanne Sager

hair clippersRemember when you were a kid and you got a cool new haircut? Remember how you just couldn't wait to show it off to your friends? Well, 9-year-old Kamryn Renfro's new 'do was the ultimate of cool -- she shaved her head to support a pal with cancer. But her return to school after her haircut wasn't exactly what kids look forward to -- Caprock Academy in Grand Junction, Colorado, suspended her for it!

Administrators at the public charter school told Kamryn's parents that her shaved head violated the dress code, and they barred her from going to class.

Because heaven forbid kids rock a funky hairdo at school?

I suppose this is where I should offer up a little disclaimer. I'm personally up in arms about this subject because a little more than a week ago, I was the one sitting down to shave my head ... and I was doing it specifically for the St. Baldrick's Foundation, a non-profit that raises money for childhood cancer research. It was my seventh year shaving, but this year I was inspired by a 10-year-old in my town who was organizing the entire shave-a-thon himself!

Just a little older than Kamryn, his heart is just as big, but our school district -- unlike hers -- was totally on board. They even allowed the young man in my town to wander the halls raising money for the cause.

Apparently that wouldn't have flown at Caprock, where shaved heads are prohibited, according to the head of the school's board of directors, because the school has "a detailed dress code policy, which was created to promote safety, uniformity, and a non-distracting environment for the school's students."

That's why they told Kamryn she couldn't come back to school until her hair grew back after she'd shaved to support pal Delaney Clements, who was diagnosed in 2010 with neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer.

First off, I'm not buying the "safety" angle. Shaving your head presents a danger to other kids in pretty much the same way that same sex marriage presents a danger to my straight relationship?

What, are they going to be blinded by the shine off your newly bald pate?

Come. On!

As for "uniformity" and a "non-distracting environment," I'm going to go out on a limb and say there are worse things than a kid whose haircut is a little different, worse distractions in the classroom than somebody's hairdo.

Let's set aside the good deed Kamryn was doing here for her friend.

What schools like Caprock -- and those around the country with similarly draconian dress codes -- fail to recognize is that hair is one of the few things that can be changed by a child with little to no negative long-term effects. It's one "safe" rebellion.

Kids NEED those. They need to have some ways to express themselves that won't have negative repercussions down the line. That's how they learn who they are and what it means to make their own decisions. 

Let me put it this way: I'd much prefer kids shave their heads and a few kids at school point, stare, and make some comments at the beginning of the class period than kids experiment and stretch their wings by doing something dangerous ... drugs, alcohol, you name it -- you know, something truly "distracting" or "unsafe" for a school community.

Caprock seems to be relenting, by the way, but the outrage over this should send a message to other schools.

It's just hair!

What do you think is an appropriate dress code guideline for kids' hair?

by on Mar. 25, 2014 at 2:10 PM
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by Bronze Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 3:35 PM

I think this is a little much...  Shaving your head to support someone with cancer should not be punished.  After all, she was not doing it to stand out, or make a fashion statement.  

My kids school has a policy of no extreme hair styles or colors.  They do not want anything that will distract from learning.  They also have a dress code.  

They cannot have their hair dyed "unnatural" colors like purple, and things like mo-hawks are not okay.  I have seen several shaved heads (esp. when it is warm out) and no one seems to care.  

by Maria on Mar. 25, 2014 at 3:43 PM
That's so silly.
by Gwen on Mar. 25, 2014 at 3:48 PM

I don't have a problem with saying girls can't shave their heads under normal circumstances.  My kids school also says no extreme hair styles - and shaved on a girl is extreme (under normal circumstances).

In this case, though, the school should have been able to look at the reason why the girl shaved her head & been fine with it.  Clearly, they aren't going to ban the girl going through chemo, right?  I hope! Showing support to a friend like this should be automatically ok - and they should (IMO) have enough common sense to just be ok with it without having a board meeting etc.

(Makes me wonder how my sons' Christian school would respond. Hopefully the way I think they should! lol)

by Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 4:06 PM
1 mom liked this

I think schools and other government entities have WAY WAY WAY too much power over our lives.  I don't think they should be able to tell anyone how they can or cannot wear their hair.

by on Mar. 25, 2014 at 4:07 PM
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My personal opinion is as long as it's clean and smells good, I don't care.
by Silver Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 8:45 PM

Personally, I think there are very few hairstyles that should be discouraged at schooll and shaving is definitely not among them.  Even hair color and such does not bug me.  It would have to be pretty extreme.  Shaving one's head to support a friend should certainly not be punished!  I am all for a reasonable dress code, but this one is awfully strict.

by Mikki on Mar. 25, 2014 at 9:20 PM

She did it for a good cause so I think it was stupid to suspend her.  Our district no mohawks at the elementary level or no strange dyeing of it.

family in the van   Mom of four

by Silver Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 10:27 PM

I think the I.s.d. should get ready for a legal fight.

by Bronze Member on Mar. 25, 2014 at 11:13 PM
Schools that quibble over such trivial matters are just wasting their time. Who cares what their hair looks like? As long as they haven't shaved "fuck you " on to the side of their head, it really shouldn't matter. And tbh, if your child is mature enough to be in school, they should be mature enough to not be distracted by an unusual haircut/style or color.
by on Mar. 26, 2014 at 1:07 PM

The only think I think that should be part of a dress code at school in terms of hair be that it be clean as part of good personal hygiene for health reasons, and I wouldn't object to saying hair can not completely cover the eyes, for safety and attention reasons.  Otherwise...there are so many more distractions in school than someone's hair, and I agree that messing with hair is a non-permanent and harmless way of expressing individuality for the child.  Heck my 6 year old recently announced she wanted to grow out her bangs and then also wants to wear her hair down (as opposed to headband, clip, ponytail, etc) all the time now.  While we did compromise with it goes in a ponytail on days she has gym, and we are working on keeping her bangs out of her face while they grow...I decided that otherwise, it's her hair and her choice.

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