Native American boy Jakobe Sanden was kicked out of class because of his Mohawk haircut. The second-grader was shocked that his new hairstyle was deemed a distraction by the school and caused his removal from the classroom. Jakobe’s father said the Mohawk is a symbol of the boy’s heritage.
Jakobe Sanden, 7, was reportedly sent to the principal’s office at Arrowhead Elementary School in Santa Clara, Utah, because of the Mohawk haircut. Gary Sanden, the Native American boy’s father, said administrators told him that the haircut violated school policy. The elder Sanden said Santa Clara school officials asked he and his wife to get Jakobe’s hair cut, MSN reports.
“I told the superintendent I was in no means going to cut his hair because it’s a symbol of who we are,” Sanden, 43, said. “It’s ironic the school is named Arrowhead.”
The Mohawk haircut issue has now reportedly been resolved, but the family said they were forced to “jump through hurdles” to accomplish the task. Jakobe Sanden got the traditional Native American haircut a week ago, as he had done multiple times in the past, Teyawnna Sanden, the boy’s mother, said.
“We had students that weren’t used to it,” Arrowhead Principal Susan Harrah said during an interview with Fox KSTU. “They had called that out. So the teacher brought the student to my attention.”
The assistant principal at the Santa Clara school, Rex Wilkey, released a statement that said the Native American boy’s Mohawk hairstyle was “possibly in violation of the school district student grooming policy.” Wilked added that Sanden’s parents were informed of the “possible violation.”
“We try to reflect the values and norms of the community,” Wilkey told USA Today. “Some things are a little more clear cut, and some things are a little more controversial. You try to manage it the best you can. Kids come in dressed all kinds of ways and it can be an issue for the school.”
Teyawnna Sanden, 43, had this to say about her second-grade son being kicked out of class in a Facebook post.
“So f’n irritated right now. I get a call from the boys’ school and she said Kobe’s not allowed to have a Mohawk … that’s it’s school policy. WTH! Really? It’s hair!”
Arrowhead Elementary School policy, as noted in the district’s online handbook, states hairstyles and hair length “should be within the spectrum of color that hair grows naturally. Students have the responsibility to avoid grooming that causes a distraction or disruption, interrupting school decorum and adversely affecting the educational process. Extremes in body piercings, hair styles and hair colors may be considered a distraction or disruption.”
Gary Sanden said the school ultimately instructed him to get a letter explaining the Native American tradition of wearing Mohawks by tribal leaders. Gary Sanden is a member of the Seneca Nation of Indians and Teyawnna Sanden belongs to the Kaibab Band of Paiutes Indians.
“That’s like calling up the governor of our state,” Jakobe Sanden’s father said. “But I called and got the letter. My wife did too.”
What do you think about the Native American boy being thrown out of class because of his Mohawk haircut?
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