Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Haircut sparks controversy at Staten Island middle school

Half-dressed is clearly against school policy, but what about half a haircut?
Dennis Reynolds, an eighth-grader at Staten Island's Barnes Intermediate School in Great Kills, claims he was sent home this morning because he arrived with half his head shaved.
And while the city Department of Education's Student Bill of Rights and Discipline Code has plenty to say about inappropriate attire, there's not a single word about hair do's and dont's.
"The assistant principal told me my hair cut wasn't good enough," Dennis, 14, said from his Mariners Harbors home when he should have been in school getting in one last review session before tomorrow's state social studies exam.
An Education Department spokeswoman called it "a misunderstanding." The phone call home was a formality to make sure Dennis' mom knew what he did to his hair.
"The principal did not tell the parent to take the child home," said spokeswoman Margie Feinberg. "The parent decided to take him home. He slept at a friend's house and had his head half shaved. If he wanted to go to school like that, he could have."
But Carmen Reynolds said her son slept in his own bed on Saturday and Sunday night -- and she was well aware of his new look.
"They're lying," the angry mom said. "I would never let my child sleep at a friend's house on a school night and why would I take him out of school first thing Monday morning when he has a state test the next day?"
Dennis said he was removed from his first-period math class by an assistant principal.
"I answered that a lot of kids have earrings hanging out of their mouths on their tongues, but I can't have a haircut? She told me not to compare myself to anyone and then I was told 'you have to leave.'"
He asked them to call his mother for a ride.

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