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School Suspends 9-Year-Old Girl After She Shaves Her Head in Solidarity with Cancer-Stricken Friend

Kamryn Renfro

Kamryn Renfro and Delaney Clements

There’s a reason why plenty of dress codes exist. Parents don’t want to feel unsafe shipping their kids off to school each morning because they’re worried their sons’ and daughters’ classmates will wear shirts or other articles of clothing that might align them with violent gangs, for instance. Or girls in too-too-short skirts? Inappropriate. There’s simply no place for making kids feel uncomfortable as a result of what their classmates are wearing, or what they’re not wearing, as might be the case.

For Kamryn Renfro, 9, of Grand Junction, Colo., what she didn’t have on might have technically violated her school’s dress code — although if there were ever a case for an exception, this was it.

Renfro’s good friend is battling cancer, according to 9 News in Denver. So in support of Delaney Clements, 11, who is stricken with neuroblastoma and sporting a bald head while she undergoes chemotherapy treatments, Renfro shaved her head, too. She did it with her parent’s permission, although it was apparently in violation of her school’s dress code policy.

The school stood by their decision to suspend Renfro.

“Caprock Academy does have a detailed dress code policy, which was created to promote safety, uniformity, and a non-distracting environment for the school’s students. Under this policy, shaved heads are not permitted,” Catherine Norton Breman, President and Chair of Caprock Academy Board of Directors, said.

Presumably Renfro’s voluntary bald head is considered a distraction, but you would think it would be one of the best kind of distractions since it’s raising awareness of childhood cancer — and compassionate acts.

Also, and most importantly? Renfro’s show of solidarity “made me feel very special and that I’m not alone,” Clements told 9 News.

It remains to be seen if the school will change its mind — the school board is meeting tonight to discuss “the situation.”

Who wants to bet the publicity this story has garnered will shame them into reversing their decision by the morning?  (See: The boy who was disallowed from bringing his My Little Pony backpack to school. Spoiler alert — the good guy usually wins in these cases when there’s lots of public shaming of ignorant school officials.)

But wouldn’t it have been nice if the school had made “the situation” a positive one at the outset? Students are not nameless, faceless individuals who all happen to have hair. They are people with feelings and opinions. Dress codes can be important, sure. But looking beyond the clothing and the hairstyles — at exceptional times is teaching a more important lesson than following every rule as it has been written.

Screenshot via 9 News

More from Meredith on Babble:

Follow Meredith on Twitter and check out her regular column on the op-ed page of The Denver Post at MeredithCarroll.com

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