School named after Medal of Honor recipient threatens to suspend boy for getting military haircut
A young boy attending the Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary School in Tennessee was written up and threatened with suspension by the school principal for getting a military style haircut. Adam Stinnett got the haircut to honor his stepbrother who is serving in the Army.
The school is named after Bobbie Ray, a Marine corpsman who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam in 1969.
Once the story went viral, the all-too familiar backtracking by school district officials began.
After his mother received an email from the principal and stopped by for a face-to-face chat, it was made clear that Adam's hairstyle would have to change before he returned to school.
With so much hair already gone, his mother had few options.
"I did shave his head," Stinnett said Thursday. "With no hair, he looks sick all the time."
The incident upset Adam, who wants to follow Bloodworth's path into military service, his mother said.
"They crushed my son's dreams," she said of the school officials. "They made him feel upset. They broke his heart. He didn't deserve that."
Stinnett contacted the local newspaper. A Sunday article in the Southern Standard (subscription required) gained traction on Facebook, as did a later piece from a local Fox TV affiliate. Stinnett said she's been contacted by regional and national news outlets looking to spread the story.
Some of those outlets have contacted the Warren County Board of Education, which put out a news release Wednesday in response to the Southern Standard article saying, in part, that "[n]either Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary, nor any school in Warren County School District, prohibits military haircuts."
Decisions on appropriate haircuts are made on a school-by-school basis, the statement says, adding that district officials would not discuss specifics in Adam's case.
That hasn't stopped people from asking, nor has it kept them from sharing their thoughts on the matter via social media.
The school district has taken down its Facebook page after a deluge of comments, said Bobby Cox, the district's director of schools. He said the messages were "not necessarily threatening" but added to an incident that had caused the district "great stress."
He also said more security had been added to the elementary school.
"It's been portrayed that we are anti-military, anti-patriot, and we are not," Cox told Army Times. "I'm just sorry that's been the way it's been portrayed."
People wouldn't portray the district as being anti-military if they stopped acting anti-military.
This appears to be a pique of the school's principal. In her letter home to Adam's mother, she wrote the haircut "too closely resembled a "mohawk," which is against school policy." Nuts to her if she can't tell the difference between a mohawk and a military style buzz cut.
By the way, Mrs. Stinnett gave Adam another "high and tight" haircut on Thursday and Adam returned to school on Friday.
The principal never said a word.