Colorado school suspends girl who shaved head to support friend with cancer

Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:53pm EDT
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By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - A 9-year-old Colorado girl who shaved her head in support of her cancer-stricken friend was briefly suspended for violating her school's dress code before being allowed to return on Tuesday, her mother said.

Jamie Renfro said in a Facebook post that Caprock Academy in Grand Junction, Colorado sent her daughter Kamryn home on Monday after she arrived with a bald head to show solidarity with an 11-year-old friend who lost her hair after undergoing chemotherapy.

The school relented on its policy against shaved heads and allowed Renfro to return to school on Tuesday, the mother said. School officials for Caprock, a charter school in Grand Junction about 240 miles west of Denver, could not be reached for comment.

"We are pleased with the decision that our school made to let Kamryn back in school today," the posting said. "She got up, got ready, and held her head high as she walked into her classroom this morning."

Renfro's friend, Delaney Clements, 11, underwent chemotherapy as treatment for neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer, according to a website chronicling her struggle.

In a story broadcast on Denver television station KUSA, Kamryn said shaving her head "felt like the right thing to do" and her friend said she appreciated the gesture.

"It made me feel very special, and that I'm not alone," she told KUSA.

In a statement sent to the Grand Junction Sentinel newspaper, the academy said its prohibition against shaved heads is part of a dress code. In her Facebook message, Jamie Renfro said school officials supported her daughter's decision to shave her head, but "just made a decision to enforce their dress code, which we are asking to be changed."

Campbell's mother, Wendy Campbell, said in the KUSA report that Kamryn "was really brave" to shave her head for her friend. "I thought it was a huge statement and it builds character in a child," she said.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and David Gregorio)