Canton student begins in-school suspension for refusing to cut his hair

Teen says he's growing hair for Locks of Love

CANTON, Ohio - A junior at Canton South High School began a two-day, in-school suspension Tuesday for refusing to cut his hair.

Zachary Aufderheide said he's been growing his hair long since last year so that he can donate it for wigs for children with cancer. 

"When these kids have no hair and the kids are teasing them about that, I feel for them because I've been there," he said. "I've been teased for stupid reasons."

Aufderheide, who wears his hair in a ponytail, said he has about an inch to go to reach the 10 inch length he's been working toward. He said the school policy is that boys' hair should be above the bottom of the shirt collar.

Parents heading to a choir concert at the school Tuesday night seemed to support the student.

"They're all about breast cancer awareness and giving the kids choices to do things to make a positive influence on the community, and to not allow him that opportunity it really sucks," said parent Kari Thomas.

Superintendent Kim Redmond said she couldn't talk about disciplinary action, but in a statement emailed to NewsChannel5 she said the following:

"A student came to our Sept 10 Board meeting and during the public speaks portion, questioned the Board's Dress Code specifically concerning hair.  He stated he was growing his hair for a charity. When questioned by the Board about  how much longer he would need, he stated about 2 weeks. The Board said they would render a decision at the October Board meeting and did so by stating they were in support of the current policy as it stood.  At the 6 weeks mark, the student was asked to cut his hair."

Aufderheide said he hopes to come to an understanding with the school board.

"They'll be able to understand that I did this for a good cause and I'm really proud of what I'm doing right now," he said.

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