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Entries in Locks of Love (2)

Tuesday
Oct232012

Ohio Student Suspended for Growing Out Hair to Donate

Robin Aufderheide(CANTON, Ohio) -- Zachary Aufderheide has run afoul of his Ohio high school's dress code because of his desire to grow his hair long enough to donate it to Locks of Love, an organization that provides wigs to needy children who've lost their hair because of medical problems.

Zachary, 17, of Canton is about an inch away from the 10 inches of hair he needs to donate to the organization. Faced with an ultimatum, the Canton South High School junior decided to accept an in-school suspension rather than cut his ponytail.

The minimum length of hair needed for a hairpiece is 10 inches, according the Locks of Love website.

Zachary said he is passionate about donating hair to the organization because he was picked on as a child and now wants to help sick children who might have lost their hair avoid the feelings he experienced when he was teased.

"I was picked on so I know where they're coming from, I know how they feel so I sort of sympathize with them because I've been there," he said Monday.

Zachary's mother, Robin, said she understood and respected the school's dress code, but wanted officials to make an exception in her son's case.

She said her son went to a school board meeting in September, explained what he was doing and asked them to consider allowing him to reach his goal.

She said board members came up to him after the meeting and commended his efforts, but said the board had voted to uphold the school's dress code, without giving him an explanation.

The school's principal told her son he had until Monday to get his hair cut, she said.

"And we didn't do it. We didn't do it. I measured it and he's got, oh, less than an inch to grow …," she said.

The school's principal, Todd Osborn, has not replied to requests for comment placed by ABC News as of this writing.

Robin Aufderheide said she was surprised by the board's decision, but her son wasn't.

"I feel pretty disappointed with their decision because, honestly, I really put a lot of heart and soul into my demonstration, like, my presentation of the idea to them, and then when they just all unanimously voted against it … it was just kind of heartbreaking to me," he said.

According to the dress code in the Canton Local School District's student handbook, "Hair for male students shall be neat and clean and shall not be worn covering the eyes, in a ponytail, or extending beyond the bottom of the regular shirt collar."

Zachary isn't sure what will happen after the two-day suspension ends, but says if he cut his hair before reaching his goal, "then, personally, that would be admitting defeat to them. It would be meaning that I would just give up on what I view as important to myself. So this is more or less like a battle of my morals and my values, really."

After he donates his hair, he said, he'll be happy to maintain it at regulation length.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan312012

Cancer Survivor Suspended from School for Growing Hair for Charity

iStockphoto/Thinkstock (file photo)(FLINT, Mich.) -- Seventeen-year-old J.T. Gaskins woke up early Monday morning and got ready for school like all of his classmates, but instead of going to his Michigan high school, he settled in for what will be his second week of spending the school day working from home.

Gaskins was suspended from Madison Academy for having hair that did not comply with the school's rules for how long boys can grow their hair.  But Gaskins is sporting the shaggy hairdo for a very specific reason: As a leukemia survivor, he is determined to donate his hair to Locks of Love.

"I really never thought we would be here," his mother Christa Plante told ABC News.  She was "dumbfounded" when her son's school board upheld a decision to keep him out of school and says she is "very much" concerned about him missing part of his senior year of high school.

The school board did not respond to a request for comment.

Gaskins was diagnosed with Infant Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a high-risk form of leukemia in children, when he was 8 weeks old.  He underwent nearly five years of chemotherapy and his family celebrated him being cancer-free in December 2003.

Over the holidays, Gaskins was touched by a family friend who was battling cancer and decided he wanted to give back by donating his hair.  But when his hair grew over his ears and started getting in his eyes, his school demanded he cut it.

Gaskins refused and was suspended.

"He's done his research.  He knows what he wants and why.  I'm very proud of him," Plante told ABC News.  "He's fought for all these years and I think he deserves a little exception."

Plante said her son wants to donate hair now since he will be turning 18 and graduating soon and this will be his last year of pediatric cancer check-ups, which he has gone through every year of his life.

"He's celebrating his life and now he wants to give back so that other kids can have an opportunity to celebrate theirs too," she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio