By Julissa Catalan
A Colorado girl was suspended from school for going bald in support of a friend who is receiving cancer treatment. On Monday morning, the girl was not allowed to enter the school for violating its dress code, but by Tuesday the school had rethought its decision following extensive media coverage.
With the approval of her parents, 9-year-old Kamyrn Renfro shaved her head in support of her 11-year-old best friend, Delaney Clements, who has lost her hair because of chemotherapy treatment for neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer.
Caprock Academy, the charter school Renfro attends in Grand Junction, Colo., saw this brave act of kindness as a violation of its dress-code policy and suspended the child.
“Caprock Academy does have a detailed dress-code policy, which was created to promote safety, uniformity and a nondistracting environment for the school’s students. Under this policy, shaved heads are not permitted,” Catherine Norton Breman, President and Chair of Caprock Academy’s board of directors, said in a statement.
Clements and her mother, Wendy Campbell, on the other hand, were very supportive of Kamryn’s decision.
“For a little girl to be really brave and want to shave her head in support of her friend, I thought that was a huge statement and it builds character in a child,” Campbell said in an interview.
“It made me feel very special and that I’m not alone,” Clements added. “People would sometimes call me a boy even though I was all dressed in pink.
“I was really excited that I would have somebody to support me and I wouldn’t be alone with people always laughing at me. I just want to say thank you for being a really good friend and actually being brave enough to do it, and not only caring about your hair.”
For Renfro, the decision to shave her head seemed like an easy one that any friend would make in order to comfort another.
“I did it so she didn’t have to feel left out,” she said. “The medicine she was taking made her hair fall out. So I decided to shave my head. Delaney was really excited! She jumped up and down.”
Renfro’s mother, Jamie, contacted the charter school to explain the circumstances behind her daughter’s shaved head, but when she received a call back from a school official, it was to notify her of her child’s suspension.
Shortly thereafter, the frustrated mother took to Facebook to tell her story. She instantly received an outpouring of support from fellow parents, cancer supporters and upset citizens all over the country, which helped the story go viral.
After much social-media scrutiny and nationwide news coverage, the school board called for an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss creating an exemption to the dress-code regulations and admitting Renfro back into school.
Board members voted 3-to-1 in favor of allowing Renfro to return to school.
“Our lesson is that we want to be both aware of our immediate and large community. We want to do service as to how important we feel the interest of children is,’ Breman said.
Renfro returned to school on Wednesday, while Delaney received another round of chemotherapy that same day.