I get that in life we have “rules” and often times those rules exist for a reason. But I also believe that in certain circumstances, rules are allowed to be broken. Which is my stance when it comes to the story of Michael Barker, a junior in high school who was barred from competing for his school’s track team as long as he continued to have his pink mohawk. The reason he has a pink mohawk is to show support for breast cancer awareness, in particular his mother who’s had breast cancer three times.
West Iron County School District has a dress code that prohibits fashion statements that are seen as a “distraction.”
“They told me to go back in the office. They told me the same thing, ‘You gotta cut it off’; I told them no, they told me ‘well you can’t run then’, then I told them I quit,” Barker said.
Upon hearing what had happened two of his track friends, senior Bryson Heimerl and senior Chasz Jonet, walked off the bus and quit the team as well.
“You don’t let somebody walk off and get treated like that and not support them,” Jonet said.
“It was an easy choice, a very, very easy choice to support Michael,” Heimerl said. “Without Michael and Chasz on the team, it’s just not the same.”
Again, I get the need for a dress code, but I do think exceptions can be made and common sense can be used. It’s an extraordinary circumstance of a woman who’s battled breast cancer three times and the support her son wanted to show for her courageous battles with the terrible disease.
While it might technically violate the “dress code,” I don’t see why common sense can’t prevail and say that this “violation” shouldn’t only be allowed, but supported.
The stunning ignorance being shown here by this school district is embarrassing. Instead of acting like human beings and using rational thought for this circumstance, they’re clinging to a subjective set of rules over what is or isn’t a distraction by not allowing Barker to show support for his mom and breast cancer awareness while still being a member of the track team.
Rulebook or not, any person who supports keeping Michael Barker off of the track team until he cuts his hair should be ashamed of themselves. This isn’t a random act of rebellious defiance, it’s a show of support for not only his mother, but the fight against breast cancer.
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