Long hair an issue for Joshua 12-year-old

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by CHRIS HAWES

WFAA

Posted on August 26, 2010 at 12:30 AM

Updated Thursday, Aug 26 at 6:29 PM

Poll:
Should Chris McGregor have to cut his hair to attend school?

JOSHUA — He's a good student; a respectful 12-year-old. But Chris McGregor is banned from the classroom.

The reason? His hair.

While Chris has a sister, it's his long, golden locks that attract attention in his family.

"I want to be my own person," he said. "Everybody has their own personality, and this is how I am."

Chris started growing his hair a few years ago when he noticed professional soccer players wearing longer styles.

"His dream is to play professional soccer for Brazil," said Allen McGregor, Chris' dad.

The family moved to Joshua so Chris could enroll at Godley Middle School. All the district's campuses hold a "recognized" status from state.

But on the first day of class, school officials confronted him. The dress code requires boys' hair to be above the shoulders.

"We try to be fair," said Godley ISD Superintendent Paul Smithson. "However, there are standards in life, and Godley ISD's chosen these standards for the dress."

"I don't believe I should have to cut his hair," the youngster's father said. "He's had it for several years, and I've never had a problem with it in any other school."

The Fort Worth ISD shows a male student with shoulder-length hair on its dress code page.

But Smithson said the hair rule protects students and reflects community standards. "There's a reason in Texas they're called 'independent' school districts," he explained. "Bullying's a big thing, and we want to make sure everyone's dressed appropriately, someone doesn't bring attention to themselves so that someone says something to them, and all of a sudden we have a problem."

If Chris attends Godley Middle School with long hair, he'll have to remain in in-school suspension. That makes his favorite part of school nearly impossible.

"Making friends," he said.

E-mail chawes@wfaa.com

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