Photo: Getty
  /  08.31.2022

A South Dakota high school student’s parents are fighting back after administrators demanded he cut his hair in order to attend the school, USA Today reports.

Braxton Schafer has been a student at the Bishop O’Gorman Catholic Schools system since sixth grade, and now the length of his locs have become grounds for the school to ban him from attending unless he adheres to the current uniform code.  Per the policy, boys’ hair length is to be above the collar. “We don’t necessarily agree with the rule,” said Braxton’s father, Derrick Schafer on Sunday (Aug. 28). “We think it’s culturally biased.”

According to the school system’s president, Kyle Groos, the policy is more focused on the length of the hair and not the style or the culture. “Can students wear dreadlocks? Yes, they can,” said Groos. “We simply want the length of the hair to be at the collar or right above the collar. Right there is what we ask for. To be clean, neat and well-cared for.”

On the other hand, the Schafers argue that their son’s hair has been this length well before the school’s policy. Furthermore, they revealed concerns surrounding the timing of his hair being called into question. “It was always cultural,” Derrick explained. “We were concerned with the timing of them bringing this up because the school year had already started. When this was being discussed with us, it seemed like there were a lot of other opportunities to have that discussion.”

Braxton’s mother, Toni Schafer, said the policy has been “incredibly stressful” for her 14-year-old son. “It’s incredibly stressful, and he feels kind of like an outsider anyways, because when you’re one of very few [Black students], and I think he might be the only one there with locs, he’s devastated, basically,” said Toni. “He wanted to stay because he likes his friends.”

 

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