It is hard enough to find out that your 11-year-old friend has cancer. It only makes things worse when your school sends you right back home for showing support to your sick friend.
Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to Kamryn Renfro, a nine-year-old girl who attends Caprock Academy in Grand Junction, Colorado. According to foxnews.com, Kamryn’s friend, Delaney, lost her hair to cancer treatments, and as a gesture of love and support, Kamryn shaved her own head. Delaney said that she was thrilled, adding, “I was really excited I would have somebody to support me and I wouldn’t be alone with people always laughing at me. I would at least have somebody to go through it all.”
Does the Dress Code Go Too Far?
But Caprock Academy immediately turned Kamryn away last Monday morning, informing her that she could not return without a wig or until her hair grows back, according to their strict school policy. Catherine Norton Breman, the president and chair of the academy’s board, referred to the policy saying, “[It] was created to promote safety, uniformity, and a non-distracting environment for the school’s students. Under this policy, shaved heads are not permitted."
My own children attend a charter school with a strict dress code, and for the most part, I get it. It “fosters unity” among classmates to wear the same clothing, etc. But what about the consideration of the whole child? Clearly, this isn’t some fashion statement—Kamryn’s mother emailed the school to explain, but they informed her they could not make an exception. This meant something very personal to both Kamryn and Delaney, and their genuine caring over the situation was summarily rejected.
Tim Kenny, who founded the St. Baldrick’s Foundation—an organization that shaves heads to raise money for funding for cancer research—is frankly disheartened at the school’s reaction, adding, “The whole reason we chose head shaving was to be in solidarity with kids who are going through treatment. I can’t believe people could miss the point like this.”
Caprock Academy’s Mission statement reads, “Our hope is that what takes place in side this new facility will produce an atmosphere where our students will pursue truth and beauty in conversation as well as excellence.” It is my opinion that Caprock missed an excellent opportunity to reflect on true beauty—that of a friend disregarding social conventions in order to help another.