A South Dakota Catholic high school student has decided to leave after administrators said he couldn’t stay unless he cut off his hair, the boy’s parents said.

Braxton Schafer, a 14-year-old freshman at O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls, was told by the school that he either must chop off his hair — which he wears in dreadlocks — or attend another school, Dakota News Now reported.

With the school year just kicking off, the student’s parents are calling the school’s dress code unfair as they’ve tried to come to a compromise with school administrators.

“He’s had one haircut his entire life, so cutting his hair would be significant,” Derrick Schafer, Braxton’s father, told the outlet.

Photo of Braxton Schafer with his family
Braxton Schafer (second from right) was told by school officials he must cut his hair off or find a new school to attend.
Toni Landeen Schafer/Facebook
Braxton Shafer, 14, smiling with dreadlocks.
The 14-year-old freshman is a member of the marching band and football team at O’Gorman High School.
Toni Landeen Schafer/Facebook

Braxton is a member of the school marching band and played in his first football game on Thursday.

As a student at O’Gorman Junior High, Braxton never had an issue with school officials over his hair. But that changed when he attended high school this year.

The high school’s dress code says male students must keep their hair “above the eyes and not touching the collar,” according to the outlet.

“People enroll in our Catholic schools, then they know what we stand for and they know what we are representing and the structure and environment that we will create for their family,” said Kyle Groos, President of Bishop O’Gorman Catholic Schools.

Groos told KELO that the issue is not the style but the length, adding that he would love to have Braxton attend the school.

“Locs and dreadlocks, the style is not the issue,” he said. “Length: it’s all it’s ever been.”

He said the school could review its policy in the future.

Braxton’s parents said they met with administrators at an open house hosted by the school on Aug. 24. They said they’ve since had other meetings with school officials.

The outside of O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls.
Braxton Schafer will be leaving O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls after the semester.
Dakota News Now
Photo of Kyle Groos, President of Bishop O’Gorman Catholic Schools
Kyle Groos, President of Bishop O’Gorman Catholic Schools, defended the school’s dress code.
Dakota News Now

“We were open to a lot of different compromises. The only one was just not cutting his hair,” Derrick Schaefer told Dakota News Now.

“He just wants to go to school, he just wants to play football, he wants to be in the marching band, he wants to hang out with the kids,” he added.

The school decided that it will allow Braxton to finish the semester without a haircut, but then must transfer to another school.

“We’re sitting here talking about haircuts when I’m sending him there for an education and we’re getting booted because we have long hair,” the boy’s mother said.



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