A Michigan high school student was banned from competing in his school track meet unless he got rid of the pink Mohawk he’s sporting to honor his mother who has breast cancer.
Mike Barker, a junior at West Iron County High School in Iron River, Mich., told FoxNews.com he was told his new hair style did not meet the school’s grooming and appearance policy, and was told by his coach and then the school principal that he could not compete in his team’s meet on Thursday.
“[My coach] told me I can’t have pink hair with Mohawk to support my mom with breast cancer,” Barker, 17, told FoxNews.com. “I want this to change. That’s my goal.”
…His mother, Wendy Pawlicki, told FoxNews.com she was all the more outraged because her son had been to track practice for weeks with his Mohawk—it was only when he dyed it pink that he was suddenly not allowed to compete in his sport.
In response to FoxNews.com’s email request for comment, West Iron County High School principal Mike Berutti emailed back the following statement from the superintendent:
“The West Iron County Public Schools supports the needs of the students to express themselves, as long as their expression does not interfere with the educational process. We also strive to balance individualism of athletes with the concept of team that fit within our athletic code. The athletic department is going to work with the student and parents to resolve this issue. The student was not dismissed from the team and we welcome his participation in the future.
When I was in high-school we had one student with a mohawk about twice the size of this. He did often cause a bit of disruption to class, not because of his huge, brightly-colored hair, but because with Mohawks often come affinity to Anarchy and punk culture. He simply didn’t respect authority, and THAT disrupts class way more than a silly haircut. He didn’t keep the mohawk forever, and oddly he was just as disruptive with a number of hairstyles.
Also I’ll add when I played tennis I used to wear a big panama hat to play. Two reasons for this, #1 it kept the sun out of my eyes no matter where it was compared to the narrower brim of a ball-cap most players wore, and #2 it was flamboyant and stood out. This would often distract other players just enough to give me a small advantage.
Better players weren’t bothered by it, but lower players it gave me an advantage.
Couple in the fact that this was done for a good cause really shows how much shaming the schools should take.
Really, does a hair style disrupt learning much? Maybe the first two days, but honestly it sounds like teachers looking for excuses.