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Girl's shaved head draws national furor at Grand Junction school

by Susan Ohanian

I don't usually give space to individual school stupidity but try to concentrate on issues that are common to most schools. But this outrage must be noticed.

Here's the story from KUSA TV


KUSA) It was meant as a gesture of solidarity: a girl in Grand Junction, Colorado shaved her head to support her friend, who is battling cancer. However, family members say the girl's school didn't see it that way and said it violated the dress code policy. Now, what started as a simple gesture is turning into a battle over whether hair should matter in school.

With her parents' permission, Kamryn Renfro shaved her head in support of her cancer-stricken friend, 11-year-old Delaney Clements. She lost her hair because she is undergoing chemotherapy in her fight against neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer.

Delaney loved what her friend did.

"It made me feel very special and that I'm not alone," she said.

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.

When 9-year-old Kamryn's mother contacted the school and explained why she'd shaved her head, the school president and chair of board of directors insisted that the dress code "was created to promote safety, uniformity, and a non-distracting environment for the school's students. Under this policy, shaved heads are not permitted."

The story made the national news. Here's the New York Daily News.

The Denver Post reported that the phone on the front desk at Caprock Academy rang incessantly Tuesday as a flustered receptionist admitted she had given up trying to answer it. The charter school's website was jammed. So was its Facebook page.

The Post reported that this was a "crisis precipitated by a dress code gone wrong." I think it's indicative something much more troubling. According to the Associated Press, School officials said the dress code was designed to promote uniformity and a non-distracting environment.

It's not just this charter school that's trying to promote uniformity.

Remember, chief architect of the Common Core David Coleman told educators that they must show students that "When you grow up in this world you realize people don't give a shit about what you feel or what you think."

The nation's public schools have embraced a system of curriculum standards that is trying to promote uniformity, to make students believe that their feelings and opinions don't matter.

Kudos to third-grader Kamryn Renfro, who cares enough about her good friend to stand tall and get her head shaved.

The school finally let Kamryn back in--after her mother went on Facebook. The vote was 3 to 1. The dissenting voter is still concerned about uniformity.

When I started telling my husband this story, he said, "I thought you were going to say that the next day everybody showed up with a shaved head."

Now that would have been the perfect response. Uniformity.

— Susan Ohanian




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