Student Growing Hair for Charity Suspended

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CANTON -- A Canton South High School junior is growing his hair out to donate to a charitable cause, but now his school has suspended him.

The high school wants him to cut his hair because it violates the school's dress code.

Zachary Aufderheide, 17, said he is just trying to help kids in need by donating his long hair to Locks of Love. The charity uses donated hair to make hairpieces for kids who have lost their hair due to illnesses like cancer.

Aufderheide is just an inch away from meeting the Locks of Love donation requirement of 10 inches.

"I want to give them the chance to live a somewhat normal life," said Aufderheide. "I want to give them a chance to be happy."

Aufderheide is serving a two-day in-school suspension for violating the school's dress code. The code specifies all male students must keep their hair above the shirt collar.

At the beginning of the school year, Aufderheide was told to cut his hair. Aufderheide has donated to Locks of Love before, so he didn't think it would be a problem.

The junior notified the school board of his charitable intentions and asked for more time to grow his locks longer. On Monday, Zachary was called into the principal's office for violating the school dress code.

"I feel that it is worth the trouble," said Aufderheide. "I know that I am doing something good. I know that I'm doing the right thing, however, because of my school's policies, that's the only issue. They feel a different way, and I feel this way."

Canton Local School Board president John Martin, who owns a hair salon, said he understands Zachary's efforts, but that rules are rules.

"I respect all of it. Unfortunately we were asked if he's in violation of the dress code or is he not in violation of dress code, and he is obviously," said John Martin, Canton Local School Board president.

Even though Zachary was suspended, he plans on continuing to grow his hair for the Locks of Love charity.

He said if the school punishments get harsher, he might have to rethink his plan.