Charter School relaxes grooming policy for current school year after child told to cut hair

Charter School relaxes grooming policy for current school year after child told to cut hair
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 4:34 PM EDT
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LELAND, N.C. (WECT) - Classical Charter Schools of Leland has eased enforcement of the school’s grooming policy. The announcement comes days after WECT reported a first-grader was told to cut his long hair.

School administrators told Ashley Lomboy that her son Logan’s hair needed to be in line with the school’s policy by March 29. She then filed a grievance, stating his long hair is part of the family’s Native American cultural and religious beliefs.

According to a letter sent to parents on Friday, the school has decided that “students not complying with the grooming norms can remain in school for the rest of the school year and finish the year under the current practices.”

In the letter, Headmaster Laurie Benton said the decision will give the Board of Trustees time to figure out a way to resolve the issue of those concerned about the grooming policy. Benton also stated it would give parents time to make enrollment decisions for the 2023-2024 school year.

Classical Charter Schools’ 2022-2023 handbook states for boys: “Hair must be neatly trimmed and off the collar, above the eyebrows, not below the top of the ears or eyebrows, and not an excessive height. Distracting, extreme, radical, or faddish haircuts, hairstyles, and colors are not allowed.”

Classical Charter Schools Headmaster Dawn Ivey released the following statement in a latter addressed to parents about the policy:

Dear Parents,

As you are undoubtedly aware, the recent efforts to resume enforcement of some longstanding school policies—such as our grooming standards—that were relaxed during the Covid disruptions are causing some disruptions of their own.

To minimize parental concerns, we have decided that students not complying with the grooming norms can remain in school for the rest of the school year and finish the year under the current practices.

This decision will give the Board of Trustees time to undertake a more studied approach to resolving the issue in the best interests of all concerned and provide parents with time to make appropriate enrollment decisions for the 2023-24 school year.

The controversy involves several students whose parents objected to the schools’ stated intent to enforce longstanding grooming standards, which, the parents say, would violate their sons’ “Native American culture and religious beliefs.

”During the Covid years, enforcement of the grooming policy—in existence for many years and published in the Parent Student Handbook—was relaxed (as were a number of other policies) to accommodate the many stresses on parents, students, and teachers.

Due to the complex issues raised, the schools have decided that it’s in the best interests of the entire CCS-A community to delay strict enforcement and allow everyone to finish the year as they are now.

Thank you for your understanding. We look forward to welcoming your students back in class on Wednesday, March 29, as we begin the important Spring term.’