Lehigh, Florida -- A school’s student counselor, and assistant principal reportedly shaved a Miami Heat tribute out of 11-year old Danny Valdes’ head without permission from his parents, after assuring the child’s stepfather (who runs a barbershop and gave the kid the haircut in anticipation of attending his first Miami Heat game) that Danny would be allowed to have his stepfather alter the haircut.
From NBC 6 in South Florida:
Valdes’ head was designed by his stepfather, who owns a barbershop, for a Miami Heat game that he attended. His head was designed with the Miami Heat logo, Miami skyline and 305 writing.
"I wanted to get my hair like that to show how proud I am of my Heat," Valdes told NBC 2.
Valdes attended the Miami Heat game during his winter break but kept the haircut when he returned to school last week.
The assistant principal then called the boy's stepfather, Arnaldo Fernadez, to notify him.
"I told her when he gets home from school I'll cut his hair and I'll make it toward their regulations," Fernandez said.
A school counselor then shaved the student’s hair with a pair of hair clippers so he could return to class, saying his stepfather said it was OK.
The 11-year-old student agreed to the haircut so he wouldn't miss class, but his stepfather said he never gave the school permission.
The school said the haircut, which featured the Heat logo, Miami skyline, and 305 local area code, was “distracting” and “gang-related.” That whole “gang-related” part is probably news to 11-year old Danny Valdes, who can be seen in a video on this page, weirdly not involved in gang activity.
Why school administrators couldn’t have, at best, just let the kid have the haircut is beyond me. At worst, they could have let him serve out the in-school suspension for the next few hours – on the first day back from winter break, which as a father of an 11-year old I can assure you that precious little learning takes place on that first day back – and have his stepfather amend the haircut rather than basically shaving it off.
Here is the school’s response:
"While the school counselor followed the wishes of the student and instructions of the student's stepfather that were provided over the phone in the presence of several witnesses, the district acknowledges the action taken by personnel were not appropriate."
So the 11-year old kid – stuck in an in-school suspension after being told that he was a distraction and that his haircut was “gang-related” – said it was OK to cut the hair. Yeah, we can’t imagine any feelings of coercion or pressure from a group of school administrators went into that young child’s decision.