O’Gorman High School student told to cut hair or find a new school

Cut your hair or find a new school was the ultimatum placed before 14-year-old O’Gorman freshman, Braxton Schafer.
Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 6:10 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Cut your hair or find a new school was the ultimatum placed before 14-year-old O’Gorman freshman, Braxton Schafer.

His parents are now speaking out, calling the timing of the decision unfair.

“He’s had one haircut his entire life, so cutting his hair would be significant,” Derrick Schaefer said, Braxton’s father.

The O’Gorman’s dress code hair policy states that boys must keep hair length “above the eyes and not touching the collar.”

“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.

At an open house on Wednesday, Aug. 24th, the assistant principal of O’Gorman High School spoke with Toni and Derrick Schaefer about Braxton’s hair.

Since then, they’ve met with other administrators.

“We were open to a lot of different compromises. The only one was just not cutting his hair,” Derrick said.

During his time at O’Gorman Junior High, Braxton said he hadn’t received any complaints about his hair from staff. That changed after he transitioned to High School.

“There’s some communication that was broken down that was not corrected and needs to be corrected. That’s what probably has us in the situation that we’re talking about right now,” Groos said.

Braxton is an active member of the school band and he played his first football game on Thursday. His mom spoke with the South Dakota High School Activity Association the next day.

“Since he’s practiced and had a game he would not be able to transfer into another school and continue with the activity,” Toni said.

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

After extensive conversations, the school decided to let Braxton finish out the semester without cutting his hair, but after that, he will transfer to a different 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,” Toni said.