Everyone deserves a best friend. A friend who has your back no matter what. A friend who, when you get sick or feel bad, is there with a smile or a joke or just an ear.
Kamryn Renfro seems to be one of those friends. She, with her parents permission, shaved her head in support of her friend Denaley Clements who was being treated for a cancer. But when Kamryn went to school the day after she shaved her head, she was in for a surprise.
However, when Kamryn tried to go back to school at Caprock Academy in Grand Junction this week, she wasn’t allowed in. Turns out, having a shaved head is a violation of the school’s dress code policy. Delaney’s mom, Wendy Campbell, couldn’t believe it.
“I didn’t realize that hair was such an important aspect of a child at school,” Campbell said.
It’s easy to think of reasons why a shaved head might not be allowed in a school setting. I mean, I completely understand why one might not want skinheads running the school halls. But this is obviously different. Kamryn is a preteen who did a selfless thing for her friend. This isn’t even a grey area.
According to a statement from the school:
“Caprock Academy does have a detailed dress code policy, which was created to promote safety, uniformity, and a non-distracting environment for the school’s students. Under this policy, shaved heads are not permitted,” said Catherine Norton Breman, President and Chair of Caprock Academy Board of Directors.
It is, admittedly, hard to think of a shaved head as a matter of safety. Nor would a shaved head be especially distracting, at least after the first day or two. Although requiring everyone to have hair certainly promotes uniformity, I guess. (And the virtues of uniformity in this case are debatable.)
Kamryn was allowed to return to school Tuesday while the school’s board of directors discussed the issue. At a special meeting held on Tuesday night, the school board voted 3-1 to reverse the decision and let Kamryn come back to school.
News of the school’s actions came on the heels of another outrageous story of a girl who wasn’t allowed in school because of how she looked. Sunnie Kahle is an 8-year-old who goes to a Christian school in Virginia. Well, went to a Christian school. She was pulled out because the school administration said she looked too much like a boy and did not conform to “biblical standards.”
Sunnie’s school was clearly motivated by religion, and Kamryn’s was not, but there is still something in common. Both are enforcing norms of the “proper” way people should look. Girls should look and act a certain way. Head-shaving is somehow deviant. There may be different motivations in these cases, but the result is the same.
Kamryn’s school said in a statement that exceptions have been made in the past on a case-by-case basis and they will be reviewing the situation at hand. But you can do something to make more permanent change in the lives of the kids at Caprock Academy. Please sign and share the petition telling the school to change its dress code.
Photo Credit: Jamie Olson Renfro via Facebook
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