A kindergartner with a new, spiked Mohawk haircut was sent home from a local elementary school this week for violating the district’s dress code.
Keshia Castle said she was told on Wednesday that her 5-year-old son, Ethan Clos, cannot not to come back to Reid Elementary School until he gets rid of his Mohawk, a haircut in which the head is shaved on the sides and only a strip of hair is left on top and down the middle of the scalp.
Castle said Ethan thought he was “cool” after he got the haircut during spring break last week and he got a lot of attention from his classmates when he returned to class.
“They seen his hair like it was. All the little kids were going over and feeling on it and everything,” Castle said.
Clark Shawnee School District officials, however, told Castle her son’s hairdo caused a disturbance as the teachers in the classroom couldn’t get the attention of the students.
Superintendent Gregg Morris said the hairstyle was a distraction for students and violates district rules.
“Our policy clearly states that any dress or grooming which is disruptive or distracting to the educational process is not acceptable. In this particular case, the student’s hairstyle did provide disruption to the classroom,” Morris said.
Ethan’s suspension comes after Tim Seelig, a volunteer Shawnee High School football coach, was lauded and profiled in the Springfield News-Sun for sporting a blond Mohawk in 2011 and 2009 to motivate the team.
Asked by a News Center 7 reporter why Seelig could sport the hairdo and Ethan cannot, Morris said the two situations don’t compare.
“One involved an extracurricular spirit initiative designed to motivate our kids in the football playoffs a year ago. Classrooms were not disrupted. The other poses a disruption to the learning environment as well as violates the student dress code,” Morris said.
Ethan’s grandmother, Joyce Wells, said the Mohawk is no different than other popular styles such as “the fade,” a haircut in which the hair is cut down to the scalp or close to it on the sides and back of the head and hair is left on top.
“You understand there’s a dress code and everything but you think this is perfectly acceptable? Right. I do, because if you look at the Mohawk and if you look at the fade, there’s not much difference except he’s bald on the sides,” Wells said.
Ethan is not the first elementary school student in Ohio to be sent home for sporting a Mohawk.
A 6-year-old student who attended a charter school in the Cleveland suburb of Parma was suspended for wearing the hairdo in 2008.
Ethan didn’t go to school Friday, but will return to class Monday with a shaved head, Castle said.