About The Student Suspended For Shaving Her Head To Support A Friend With Cancer

Eleven-year-old Delaney Clements is fighting cancer. When she was only seven years old, she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Delaney, according to news reports, is very sick.

One in 300 boys and one in 333 girls under age 20 will develop cancer. But those numbers don’t really matter in this particular story. What matters is Delaney.

To her family and her friends, Delaney isn’t 1 in 333 girls. She is one in a million.

Because of chemo, Delaney lost her hair. I do not know Delaney. And I don’t want to pretend that I know what losing her hair means to her. But I’m going to guess that it’s been horrible. Cancer is hell; and losing your hair is hard.

Delaney has a friend named Kamryn Renfro who is in third grade. And Kamryn, who is only in the third grade, did something truly beautiful and brave. She shaved her head this past weekend. She shaved her head to show Delaney, who is fighting for her life, that she isn’t alone.

I said I don’t know Delaney, and I don’t know Kamyrn either – but I think she’s an incredible little girl. When I was in third grade, I cared a lot about “fitting in” with the other kids. I wanted to look as much like everyone else as I could. Wanting to fit in is probably pretty common for third-grade girls. But, Kamryn did the opposite. She stood out. And she stood out for one reason: for Delaney.

The story, even if it stopped here, is enough to make news. A third-grade girl shaved her head to support her dear friend who fights cancer. Because Kamryn demonstrates such tremendous kindness and compassion at such a young age, shaving her head is enough to make a few headlines.

But Kamryn did not make the news in the last few days simply because she shaved her head. Kamryn made the news because shaving her head got her suspended from school.

Kamryn shaved her head over the weekend to support Delaney. And when she got to school on Monday, she wasn’t allowed inside.

The third-grader was suspended because she VIOLATED HER SCHOOL’S DRESS CODE by shaving her head in solidarity with a friend who fights cancer.

There is a strict dress code at Caprock Academy, Kamryn’s state-affiliated, tuition-free, public charter school in Grand Junction, Colorado.

"Caprock Academy does have a detailed dress code policy, which was created to promote safety, uniformity, and a non-distracting environment for the school’s students,” said Catherine Norton Breman, president and chair of the school’s board of directors, in a statement. “Under this policy, shaved heads are not permitted."

The website for Caprock Academy is currently down. But according to Google’s cache of the page from earlier this week, the dress code is, as Breman said, very detailed.

“Ladies’ Hair: Should be neatly combed or styled. No shaved heads. Hair accessories must be red, white, navy, black or brown. Neat barrettes, headbands and ‘scrunchies’ are permissible. Hair should not be arranged or colored so as to draw undue attention to the student. Hair must be natural looking and conservative in its color. Radical changes in hair color during the school year are unacceptable.”

I could write at length about why I strongly disagree with the Caprock Academy dress code. They say it promotes “safety” and “uniformity.” I say it blindly promotes conformity. And the peculiar language about “natural looking” hair truly concerns me. That said, today isn’t the day for me to outline my thoughts on dress codes – but I do want to point out that I am not against all dress codes at all schools all the time.

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parenthacks:

Don’t let the last few strawberries shrivel in the fridge. Wash, slice, quick freeze on waxed paper, then store in freezer bags for milkshakes and smoothies. #parenthacks

You’re probably already following this amazing blog — but if somehow you aren’t, then consider this your lucky day. There are GREAT ideas on here. And, the picture is pretty but this ain’t Pinterest, folks. 

parenthacks:

Don’t let the last few strawberries shrivel in the fridge. Wash, slice, quick freeze on waxed paper, then store in freezer bags for milkshakes and smoothies. #parenthacks

You’re probably already following this amazing blog — but if somehow you aren’t, then consider this your lucky day. There are GREAT ideas on here. And, the picture is pretty but this ain’t Pinterest, folks. 

Julia Lavigne is an illustrator and my new favorite person in the world. (Sorry husband and kids.)

I wrote some words — and Julia turned the words into ART. Virtual high five to Julia! And a hug! And a smooch! And then one more high five! There are seven more of our cartoons featured on the Huffington Post right now so please go look and then, if you like them, share them with people you love. If you don’t like them, share them with people you hate. I don’t care. Just share them. 

Woe Is Toddlerdom

I wrote this essay for Babble in 2011 and every once in a while a friend will ask me about “the toddler thing” I wrote. Here it is again. Well, here’s some of it and a link to the rest on Babble.

One morning, my then one-and-a-half-year-old son unlocked the child-safety latch of our bottom bathroom drawer. Upon finding my makeup, he began breathing heavily with excitement and staggering around. What a haul! What loot! Imagine his disappointment when, just as he was about to pry the shiny cap off a red lipstick, I picked him up and carried him out of the bathroom. I didn’t congratulate him on his discovery. I didn’t point him in the direction of the hallway’s white walls and say, “My home is your canvas. Go forth and create.” Instead, I ruined everything.

Before I had children, when I’d go to the grocery store and see a little kid in the cereal aisle screaming and crying, I’d shake my head. Why was it that every time I saw a toddler, he or she was throwing some kind of fit? What could be so difficult about spending the day playing, napping, and eating? Now, after living among their kind, I should apologize. Not to you, but to them. Here’s the sad truth: for toddlers, the world is a rough place full of squelched mysteries, restrained freedoms, and nonsensical commands. I think I’d rather be fourteen again than be a toddler.

What does an old, forgotten Goldfish cracker from the bottom of a car seat taste like? What kind of pattern does yogurt make when it splatters onto the floor? What sound do cookbook pages make as they are torn in half? These and many other great discoveries are often stopped by us, the big people in our toddlers’ lives.

How frustrating! What must it be like to get stopped by a security guard time and time again? To be constantly redirected and rerouted as you tried to go about your day, without an understanding of what you had done wrong? What if you sat down to read the newspaper and drink your coffee when suddenly – out of nowhere – some giant swooped down and plopped you in front of a pile of plastic blocks? You bet you’d protest. You’d holler your tush off.

So what’s the reward for a toddler’s natural curiosity? A little freedom and encouragement? No, just the opposite. Oppression! We pin them to furniture all day long: the stroller, the car seat, the high chair. All of the straps! All of the restraints! How maddening it must be to sit, captive, in front of a tray covered with food you can’t identify or don’t remember liking. No wonder it’s so often tossed to the floor.

Read the rest here…