Sioux Falls Student Told ‘Cut Your Hair or Find A New School’
14-year-old Braxton Schafer just started his freshman year at O'Gorman High School in Sioux Falls. Braxton is already an active member of the school's marching band and football team. However come next semester, Braxton will be taking his talents to another institution.
Transferring schools might not seem like a big deal to most families. For Braxton and his family, the private high school really left them no choice. O'Gorman High School officials told Braxton to "cut his hair or find a new school." Braxton's family says the timing of this decision from O'Gorman High School is "unfair."
Dakota News Now had the opportunity to speak with Braxton's parents, Derrick and Toni Schafer about their frustration and their son's hair. One interesting fact about Braxton's hair is that he's only had one haircut his entire life. Therefore, cutting his hair would be a "significant" change. On the other hand, O'Gorman High School follows a dress code hair policy that states that boys must keep hair length “above the eyes and not touching the collar.”
President of Bishop O’Gorman Catholic Schools Kyle Groos explains to Dakota News Now this policy isn't anything new. “People enroll in our Catholic schools, then they know what we stand for and they know what we are representing and the structure and environment that we will create for their family."
Toni and Derrick Schaefer tell Dakota News Now they did speak with the assistant principal of O'Gorman High School and other officials to discuss options going forward. Except...cutting Braxton's hair. “We were open to a lot of different compromises. The only one was just not cutting his hair,” explains Derrick.
Braxton's parents highlighted that their son's hair was not an issue when he attended O'Gorman Junior High. Teachers never made any complaints. Kyle Groos believes there was lack of communication to cause this confusion. “There’s some communication that was broken down that was not corrected and needs to be corrected. That’s what probably has us in the situation that we’re talking about right now," states Groos.
So why not transfer now? Toni Schaefer explains, “Since he’s (Braxton) practiced and had a game he would not be able to transfer into another school and continue with the activity.” Toni and Derrick just want their son to be a normal high school kid without the drama surrounding his appearance. "He just wants to go to school, he just wants to play football, he wants to be in marching band, he wants to hang out with the kids,” says Derrick. Toni adds, “We’re sitting here talking about haircuts when I’m sending him there for an education and we’re getting booted because we have long hair.”
Officials from O'Gorman High School have agreed to let Braxton finish this semester without cutting his hair. Other news outlets are reporting multiple male students at O'Gorman High School aside from Braxton were asked to cut their hair.
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