Adam Stinnett, a 7-year-old elementary school student, was threatened with suspension for his military-style haircut which was meant to pay respect to his stepbrother.
Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary school is located in McMinnville, Tennessee, about 90 minutes southeast of Nashville. Amy Stinnett, Adam’s mother, said that he wanted the haircut so that he could look like his stepbrother, who is currently an active-duty member of the military, Fox News reports.
The principal of the middle school felt that the haircut was against school policy, which prevents students from sporting “mohawk haircuts or other extreme cuts.”
Even though Adam was scolded by the principal, his mother sent him to school with the same haircut the next day to prove a point. The principal emailed the mother asking to meet her in person.
The principal told Stinnett to give her son a new haircut before sending him back to school. Stinnett said that she was forced to shave his head because the previous high and tight style did not leave many options.
After Stinnett contacted the local newspaper about the incident, multiple local affiliates picked up on the story. Articles concerning the event gained a lot of attention on Facebook and garnered so many comments for the school district’s Facebook page that officials were forced to take the page down.
Bobby Cox, the director of schools for the district, said they were “not necessarily threatening,” but that they were adding to the stressful situation. The Warren County Board of Education released a statement on Wednesday that said, “Neither Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary, nor any school in Warren County School District, prohibits military haircuts."
School policy on haircuts is determined on a school-by-school basis, according to Cox. The district does not control these rules.
While Cox said that the district is reviewing the haircut policy, Stinnett is not happy with the result of the policies.
"All I really want is for the school and the school district to do a public apology: Not just for my son, but for the fallen war heroes ... and the veterans, and the active military personnel that are in the Army now," she told the Navy Times. "Considering the military haircut as a distraction is basically saying that our Army is a distraction."
The elementary school is named after Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class David Robert “Bobby” Ray, who earned the Medal of Honor for his valor in Vietnam. The gym in the school is named after Spc. Jeremy L. Brown, who died in Afghanistan in 2010.