Have educators lost all of their common sense? Have they become so blinded by their rules and power that they fail to see students as living human beings?
How many times have we read about 5-8 year old kids being suspended from school for just playing kids games of shooting at another kid with their fingers, Hello Kitty Bubble guns, Pop-Tarts or pencils? Several high schoolers not only have been suspended from school but charged with felonies because their fishing tackle boxes locked in their cars contained fish cleaning knives. There was also the boy on the school bus that said he wished he had a gun to help protect his friends from bad people and found himself suspended from school when the bus driver reported what the boy told a friend.
All of these have two things in common: zero tolerance rules and school teachers/administrators that have lost all common sense and understanding of kids being kids.
Now a 9 year old girl in Grand Junction, Colorado found herself to be another victim of zero tolerance and lack of common sense from educators. Kamryn and Delaney have been friends for some time. Delaney has been battling cancer for several years and is undergoing another round of chemotherapy. The treatment has caused Delany to lose her hair and become the subject of teasing and harassment by other school kids. Some of the kids called her a boy and made fun of her.
Kamryn felt for her friend and felt she needed to help support her so she took it upon herself to shave her head. Delaney was ecstatic with Kamryn’s actions and told the local news:
“I was really excited I would have somebody to support me and I wouldn’t be alone with people always laughing at me. I would at least have somebody to go through it all.”
But when Kamryn showed up at Caprock Academy Monday morning, school officials reacted to her shaved head. The school’s policy states that no shaved heads are allowed, so the newly bald girl was not allowed in the classroom and had to spend the entire school day out on the playground. Then school officials told Kamryn that she would not be allowed to return to the classroom until she purchased a wig or her natural hair grew out.
Delaney told the media:
“It makes me sad because she was really happy to go back to school and show people what she did, but now that she didn’t get to, she’s kind of sad.”
Wendy Campbell, Kamryn’s mom contacted the school to tell them why her daughter had shaved her head and she was told they couldn’t make any exceptions to the rule. She told the media:
“I didn’t realize that hair was such an important aspect of a child at school. For a little girl to be really brave and want to shave her head in support of her friend, I thought that was a huge statement and it builds character in a child.”
Then the story of what happened hit the news which painted the school in a very negative light. Then and only then did school officials tell Kamryn’s mom that she would be welcomed back to the classroom on Tuesday and that they were holding a special meeting to review the rules and the stringent no exception policy.
I first heard about this on the morning news on a local station. After the report, one of the news anchors commented about the lack of common sense on the part of the school officials. She said:
“This should have never reached the television.”
I agree. If educators had a single ounce of common sense, they would have discovered why Kamryn shaved her head and praised her for what she did instead of penalizing her. It’s the school’s duty to prevent bullying and harassment and the school was failing to stop what was happening to Delany, so 9 year old Kamryn took drastic action to stop it and support her friend.
If you ask me, the school officials that banned Kamryn to the playground should themselves be banished to the playground for one day without pay. Every time any teacher or school administrator throws common sense out the window and suspends students for being a kid and violating their sacred zero tolerance policy, they need to be suspended for the equal number of days without pay for their own stupid actions. When it hurts them in the wallet, then perhaps they’ll start to regain their common sense.