Kindergartner suspended for haircut

Filed under: Big Kids, Day Care & Education

Ellie and I were in the grocery store yesterday when we passed a guy with a rather unusual haircut. It wasn't exactly a mohawk, but gave the impression of a mohawk. A moment later, Ellie told me about a kid in her class who got a mohawk haircut. It was clear from the way she said it that she didn't particularly care for it, so I asked if she thought the little boy was happy with his new do. "Oh, he likes it but I think it looks silly," she said. I gave her the 'to each his own' speech and explained that as long as he liked it, that was all that mattered.

When 6-year-old Bryan Ruda, got a mohawk haircut, the problem wasn't that his classmates didn't like it. The problem was with school administrators, who suspended the kindergarten student because of it. They claim that his hair is a distraction to the other students at his suburban Cleveland, Ohio charter school.

His mother, Michelle Barile, is not pleased. "I understand they have a dress code. I understand he has a uniform. But this is total discrimination," she said. "They can't tell me how I can cut his hair."

Oh, but they can and they did - on several occasions. While the handbook at Parma Community School doesn't address haircuts, administrators claim they informed Ruda's mother back in the fall that the mohawk was unacceptable. They followed that up with another warning later, insisting that the dress code allows school officials to forbid anything that interferes with the conduct of education.

When Ruda showed up for school with yet another mohawk last week, the school sent him home. "This was his third infraction," Principal Linda Geyer said."We felt that we were being extremely patient."

Mom has decided not to fight for her son's right to wear a mohawk and instead has enrolled him in another school. "It's something that he really likes," Barile said. "When people hear Mohawk, they think it's long, it's spiked, it's crazy looking, and it's really not."

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.