Braxton Schafer, who is a freshman at O'Gorman High School, Sioux Falls, was first intimated about the school's dress code last month during school.
A 14-year-old in South Dakota is changing high schools at the end of the semester after his Catholic school instructed him to either cut his dreadlocks or find a new school. When Braxton Schafer's parents heard about this ultimatum, they chose the latter option. "We're sitting here talking about haircuts when I'm sending him there for an education and we're getting booted because we have long hair," Braxton's mother Toni Schafer told KSFY.
Braxton, who is a freshman at O'Gorman High School, Sioux Falls, was first intimated about the school's dress code last month during a school event which was attended by Toni. Ever since then, she and her husband Derrick have had several meetings with the administrators in the hopes of reaching an agreement.
"We were open to a lot of different compromises. The only one was just not cutting his hair," revealed Derrick told the outlet. Braxton's parents explained that chopping off his hair would be very "significant" to him as he has only cut his hair once before in his life. "The important part of that cultural piece is the length of the lock, not the actual lock itself," Toni told NBC News.
Speaking to the outlet, the teenager said that he had shoulder-length dreadlocks ever since he enrolled in the private Catholic school system in 2018. He's had dreadlocks since he was eight. Although Toni didn't specify, she said that the school's decision "had nothing to do with the policy" and that "He's always been an outsider."
"People enroll in our Catholic schools, then they know what we stand for, and they know what we are representing and the structure and environment that we will create for their family," noted president of Bishop O'Gorman Catholic Schools, Kyle Groos. Per the school's hair policy, boys are required to keep their hair length "above the eyes and not touching the collar."
Speaking to KELO, Groos clarified that their problem was with his hair length and not the style. "Locs and dreadlocks, the style is not the issue. Length: it's all it's ever been," noted the administrator. Braxton will remain in the school until the end of the semester. "He just wants to go to school. He just wants to play football. He wants to be in marching band. He wants to hang out with the kids," Derrick shared.
Cover image source: NBC News