Kamryn Renfro is a very thoughtful and brave nine-year-old girl from Grand Junction, Colorado who out of the kindness of her heart decided that shaving her head would be a great idea to support her best friend, 11-year-old Delaney Clements. Clements had lost her hair undergoing chemotherapy treatment for neuroblastoma, a cancer that affects children. Unfortunately when Renfro tried to enter Caprock Academy in Grand Junction with her newly shaven head, the school would not let her in, saying she was barred from entering.
Delaney’s mother Wendy Campbell was in disbelief. “I didn’t realize that hair was such an important aspect,” Campbell said. Delaney was very moved by her best friend’s gesture; it helped her to feel less alone in her battle against the disease. “It made me feel very special,” She said. Who would have thought a simple gesture of kindness such as this one would soon turn into a worldwide story.
“It makes me sad, because she was really happy to go back to school and show people what she did,” – Delaney
Renfro was upset she could not attend school for this reason. Delany was upset too, saying “I wouldn’t be alone with people always laughing at me.” Renfro’s mother tried to explain to the school via email why her daughter had decided to shave her head. The administration gave her the explanation of why they had made their decision in the first place. According to Breman (president on the Board of Directors at Caprock Academy), under the school policy shaved heads are not permitted. Campbell was hoping the school might make an exception for Delaney’s friend. “I thought that was a huge statement, and it builds character in a child,” she said.
Renfro had full support of her family with what she felt was “the right thing to do,” she said. However, she was barred from her school until she agreed to wear a wig or let her natural hair grown in. This is because the school believed Renfro was violating the dress-code policy. One would think the school would not condemn a 9-year-old girl for shaving her head in this case, but rather congratulate her for her selfless act towards a friend. Children fighting cancer need all the support they can get. Caprock Academy had this to say about its dress code policy:
“Caprock Academy does have a detailed dress-code policy, which was created to promote safety, uniformity, and a non-distracting environment for the school’s students.” – Catherine Norton Breman
As it stands, the school finally agreed to welcome Renfro back this Tuesday. They are happy to have her back in the classroom. Tuesday night, the Board of Directors will discuss the matter in further detail. The school does make exceptions to their policy, but “only under extraordinary circumstances” they said.
Other schools take note. This is an excellent example of an opportunity to teach children how to stand up for one another, and not just for those who are sick with cancer. A 9-year-old girl being barred from school for shaving her head even for fashion’s sake should not be punished by not being allowed to enter school, let alone doing it in support of a friend with cancer.
Opinion by Katie Sevigny