Braxton Schafer black student at O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota given ultimatum to cut his dreadlocks or leave school.
Cultural bias? A South Dakota Catholic high school student has said they will transfer to a new high school at the end of the semester after he was given the ultimatum to cut his hair or find a new school.
Braxton Schafer, a 14-year-old freshman at O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls, was told by the school that he either must chop off his hair — which he wears in dreadlocks — or attend another school, Dakota News Now reported.
The teen in turn decided that he would attend another school.
With the onset of the new school year, the student’s parents are calling the school’s dress code unfair as they’ve tried to come to a compromise with school administrators.
‘He’s had one haircut his entire life, so cutting his hair would be significant,’ Derrick Schafer, Braxton’s father, told the outlet.
‘People enroll in our Catholic schools, then they know what we stand for and they know what we are representing’
Braxton is a member of the school marching band and played in his first football game on Thursday.
As a student at O’Gorman Junior High, Braxton never had an issue with school officials over his hair. But that changed when he attended high school this year.
The high school’s dress code says male students must keep their hair ‘above the eyes and not touching the collar,’ according to the outlet.
‘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,’ said Kyle Groos, President of Bishop O’Gorman Catholic Schools.
Groos told KELO that the issue is not the style but the length, adding that he would love to have Braxton attend the school.
‘Locs and dreadlocks, the style is not the issue,’ he said. ‘Length: it’s all it’s ever been.’
The school official said the school could review its policy in the future.
What if Braxton was a white boy?
Braxton’s parents said they met with administrators at an open house hosted by the school on Aug. 24. They said they’ve since had other meetings with school officials.
‘We were open to a lot of different compromises. The only one was just not cutting his hair,’ Derrick Schaefer told Dakota News Now.
‘He just wants to go to school, he just wants to play football, he wants to be in the marching band, he wants to hang out with the kids,’ the parent added.
The school decided that it will allow Braxton to finish the semester without a haircut, but then must transfer to another school.
‘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,’ the boy’s mother, Toni Schafer said.
The mother went on to say the school was exhibiting cultural bias in its ultimatum.
O’Gorman High School administrators told 14-year-old freshman Braxton Schafer’s parents on Friday that he must cut his hair or leave the school.https://t.co/PWG13j3GIW
— ArgusLeader911 (@Argus911) August 28, 2022
Social media responds
Then there were these comments on social media that caught this author’s attention. See what you think?
‘He’s a punk. They don’t have a problem with his hairstyle, it’s the length of it. He was told to cut it to an appropriate length. He refuses to. He has an attitude problem. Kick him out.’
‘So: we’ve got a child who gets his Victim Card punched while being encouraged not to follow the rules… Looks like he’s getting really good lessons on how to be successful in life.’
‘Braxton, all through life you will need to follow rules. Hair grows back. Don’t let your stubborn choice define you.’
‘Thanks to the Catholic Church for staying on brand.’