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Published: Thursday, 2/28/2008

Ohio school suspends kindergartner; says his Mohawk haircut distracting

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Bryan Ruda, 6, plays at home in Parma, Ohio on Tuesday. Bryan's Mohawk haircut has gotten him suspended from kindergarten at the Parma Community School. Bryan Ruda, 6, plays at home in Parma, Ohio on Tuesday. Bryan's Mohawk haircut has gotten him suspended from kindergarten at the Parma Community School.
PEGGY TURBETT / AP Enlarge

PARMA, Ohio - A kindergarten student with a freshly spiked Mohawk haircut has been suspended by school authorities who said the hair was a distraction for other students.

Michelle Barile, the mother of 6-year-old Bryan Ruda, said nothing in the Parma Community School handbook prohibits the haircut, characterized by closely shaved sides with a strip of prominent hair on top.

"I understand they have a dress code. I understand he has a uniform. But this is total discrimination," she said. "They can't tell me how I can cut his hair."

Mohawks violate the school's policy on being properly groomed, school Principal Linda Geyer said. Also, the school district's dress code doesn't mention Mohawks, but it does allow school officials to forbid anything that interferes with the conduct of education.

Administrators at the suburban Cleveland charter school said Ms. Barile had been warned twice.

Rather than request a hearing to appeal the suspension, Ms. Barile said she'll enroll him at another school. Changing the hairstyle is not an option, she said.

"It's something that he really likes," she said.



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