A Colorado school teacher is accused of cutting eight inches of hair off of a special-needs student, and his parents say that the school is stonewalling efforts to have the teacher held accountable.
As The Grand Junction Sentinel reports, Xander Scotland's son, also named Xander, is on the autism spectrum and has special needs. As such, he doesn't always understand what is happening to him or around him, and he can be "easily manipulated," as his dad describes it. That became apparent when he had an incident with a teacher at Redlands Middle School, where Xander is a new student and is "struggling to fit in."
Scotland says that the unnamed teacher told his son that he had split ends and could "fix that," and then produced a pair of scissors. Xander, having been taught to trust adults as well as not having the proper tools to advocate for himself, soon found himself getting a haircut that he neither asked for nor wanted.
"He thought he was doing something really bad, so between that and me reminding him to trust people … his exact words were, 'I don't want anything bad to happen.'"Making matters worse, the teacher didn't just cut the alleged split ends, says Scotland. She cut off eight inches of the boy's hair. Making matters worse, Scotland and his family are "naturalists" and Cherokees, and in the family's tradition, they grow their hair long to honor their ancestors.
"It takes years and dedication to take care of hair, and this lady took a year of progress in a matter of minutes with a pair of safety scissors."Scotland says that he's gotten nowhere with the school district as far as justice for his son. He says the teacher is still teaching at the school, in spite of his (Scotland's) belief that she should have been fired immediately.
School District 51 spokeswoman Emily Shockley said that the district is aware of the allegations against one of its teachers and that the matter is being investigated. She confirmed that the teacher in question is still teaching at Redlands.
Meanwhile, a reporter from Grand Junction's KJCT-TV contacted an employee of District 51 looking for answers and was told that the matter is "in Human Resources' hands" now.
This is not the first time that a student at a public school has been coerced into an unwanted haircut. As reported by The Inquisitr, a New Jersey high school wrestler was forced to cut off his dreadlocks by an official, in what is believed to have been a racially-motivated incident.