Kindergartner Banned From School Because of His Mohawk

I've never been a fan of dress codes. Whether it's a school uniform or "business casual" at the office, I've hated them all. We're individuals in a great big melting pot of a country. Clothing conformity seems to spit in the face of our very existence.

I know the arguments pro-dress code fans offer. It evens the playing field. No kid will feel left out or jealous because they don't have the newest pair of skinny jeans or Angry Birds T-shirts. I understand your argument. I just don't agree with it. Wearing an offensive T-shirt is one thing, but just showing you're a fan of a product is another.

And then there's Ethan Clos. The Ohio-based kindergartner was recently suspended from Reid Elementary School for sporting a mohawk. I'm sorry, what? They kicked a 5-year-old kid out of school for a silly haircut?

Apparently Ethan was in violation of a school dress and grooming policy that states any dress or grooming that disrupts the education process is not allowed. Since all of his classmates couldn't stop staring (and touching) Ethan's mohawk, it was considered a policy violation.

First off, their solution is to have Ethan shave his head. Okay. Show of hands: how many of you think a kid with a shaved head won't be a distraction to his classmates either? Yeah. Me neither. I just don't see how that's any better of a solution.

Second, what if Ethan was Native American and a mohawk was part of his culture? Would he be able to fight this? Or what if his religion dictated he wear a mohawk or some other unique hairstyle? I bet the school wouldn't bat an eye for fear of religious or cultural persecution.

I understand teaching kids to follow the rules. But in this case, I think the lesson of acceptance and individuality far outweighs the gray area of "disruption" in a grooming policy.

Maybe instead of letting the mohawk be a distraction to the rest of the class, the teacher could've taken the opportunity to turn it into a learning experience. Talk about individuality. Talk about different hair colors and styles. Talk about freedom of expression. Obviously, these would all have to be toned down to a kindergarten level, but with such an attentive audience, how can you pass up that opportunity?

I'm sad to learn that Ethan sat out of school for a few days, only to return this week with a shaved head. I only hope that his classmates don't start obsessing over his Sesame Street shirts or Osh Kosh jeans. If they do, before long, he could be coming to school buck nekkid.

Were your kids ever sent home for violating a dress code or grooming policy?

Photo via Jeff Turner/Flickr

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mande... manderspanders

First of all, parents shouldn't indulge their child's every whim.

Secondly, if you want the right/freedom to do something, then you also have a responsibility that comes with it.  That means that even if this kid wanted to utilize his right to freedom of expression he needs to learn (through is parents, preferably) that he has a responsibility to do so appropriately.  That means making sure the setting is appropriate and there aren't any *crazy* rules against it. 

It's my understanding that they did this haircut over spring break.  No reason they couldn't have shaved it off before school started back.

When I was a freshman in high school, on the first day, 2 students were suspended for having purple and blue hair.  They turned out just fine.

Vegeta Vegeta

I'm usually a fan of following rules, but the rule is very vague. I saw this kid on the news this morning, his Mohawk is like less than an inch high and dirty blonde. It would be distracting for like 30 seconds until every kid got to see/touch it.

If the rules said no unnatural dyes, shaved designs, spikes, longer than your collar, etc then yes. But 'distracting' is too vague. Wavy hair or Afros or even red(orange) hair can be just as distracting as a baby Mohawk, are the wavy hair/black/ginger boys and girls to shave their heads as well?

Come back when the kid has 7inch liberty spikes dyed rainbow with jingle bells on the tips. Then you can cry distraction.

Les Grant

manderspanders who dictates what is appropriate and when it is a distraction? It's a slippery slope that no one with room temperature IQ wants to become someone with powers interpretation. I found that beautiful women with hairstyles that I like were a distraction of mine in college. Should they have been kicked out of class? (rhetorical question)
No one should make grooming decisions for anyone unless it's unsanitary and proven by a health professional, especially schools funded by tax dollars. If they can't tell the class to get over a mohawk and move on after 3-5 minutes WTF are they teaching for?

Coles... Coles_mom

No my kids haven't been sent home. Because I follow the rules. When you enroll a child in any school - be it private or public - they send home a handbook with behavior/dress-code/discipline regulations. If you don't take the time to read the handbook and realize BEFORE the school year starts that you have some religious hang up, then that's on you. This kid isn't a Native American that in the middle of a kindergarten year needed a mohawk. It's trashy, ridiculous parents that enjoy flouting authority. They think they're being progressive and accepting and all they're doing is setting their kid up for being teased. I know the kind of kid who comes to school with a mohawk....his parents are all tatted up, Metallica shirt-wearing, pierced, early 20 somethings that still think it's cool to stand out for negative things. I'm an older mom and I take pride in my children being dressed well and tidy. I appreciate academics and rules because my children will not spend their early years "rebelling". I know this because it's how I was raised.

lulou lulou

My daughters still little.  But my sons are school age and have had mohawks and always thought they made for nice protection against head lice. If anything is a disruption its lice, and keeping the kid out of school for days, which mostly occurs in longer hair and hotspots like behind the ear - hence a mohawk is a good solution.

nonmember avatar Dawn

I am so sick of this story. This IS NOT the school's fault. This is the parents fault. They know the rules and they chose to break them. Unfortunately the child was caught in the middle. But really, they couldn't wait until summer for this haircut?

As for this article, get a grip dude! A dress code will not kill someone's individuality, nor will it scar someone for life. It is NOT OK just to do whatever you want and label it under "freedom of expression". And we wonder why kids are so disrespectful.

mande... manderspanders

@Les Grant:  if all the kids need to come up and touch it, then it's a distraction.  I don't care if it's a hairstyle, a piece of clothing, a toy, or a bookbag.

And again, just because the kid *wanted* this hairstyle doesn't mean that he should have gotten his way.  His parents could have taught him a valuable lesson - you can have this hairstyle over break, but when at school, we have to look respectable.

Shoot, I have tattoos and work in a professional job.  *Most* of the time only one of my tattoos is visible (it's on my wrist and measures about 2"x2").  But because I have a professional job, when I meet with members, managers, or attend conferences, I make sure that I dress in a manner that reflects the level of professionalism expected of me and minimize the impact (or hide altogether) my tattoos.  I have used my freedom of expression; yet I'm being responsible about it.

Les Grant

manderspanders surely you know the difference between your professional job, a business, a class room, and public schools? I'll try you again with the same simple question. Who dictates what is appropriate and when it is a distraction? That's where this flaw lies in this discussion. Look at this board some folks like mohawks some don't. I don't but I won't let my views of style and taste take freedom away. I guess telling kindergarten kinds not to come up and touch a mohawk and to continue on with the lesson of the day is too hard to do these days for professional teachers. Welcome to the Ministry of Love, 2013 USA! Good Day to all freedom lovers.

nonmember avatar MammaMel

Seriously??? Most 2 and 3 year old boys have faux-hawks...I doubt it was that big of a deal in the classroom. Just power tripping in the school.

nonmember avatar ZMommy

As long as it wasn't dyed a crazy color, I don't see the problem. I'm sick of schools acting like they are the parent. Also, how long would it take the boy's teacher to tell the students to sit down? If they don't listen, discipline them. If that's too hard then maybe this teacher shouldn't be teaching. My child is only six months old but my husband and I are already thinking about having him homeschooled when he becomes school aged. Maybe if America's schools would worry about teaching instead of bullcrap like this our country's youth wouldn't be behind in math and science.

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