Despite being given an ultimatum, 16-year-old Newt Johnson refused to cut his hair that he had been growing out to make a wig for his sister.
When a teen from Texas began growing his hair hoping to make a wig for his ill sister, he was instructed to chop it off by his school as it didn't conform to their dress code. 16-year-old Newt Johnson has been growing his golden locks since his beloved sister, Maggie Johnson, 11, began losing hers due to a recent sickness, reports WOAI/KABB. "He’s growing out his hair in case I need a wig," said Maggie who was diagnosed in October 2019 with Wegener’s disease, a disorder that causes inflammation of the blood vessels in your nose, sinuses, throat, lungs, and kidneys and also decreases the flow of blood to some organs.
When 16-year-old Newt Johnson found out his little sister was sick, he decided to grow out his hair until it was long enough to make a wig, in case she needed it. But because of his school's policies, that also meant withdrawing from his high school. https://t.co/sja35uiL6l— CNN (@CNN) February 9, 2020
Due to this condition, Johnson's sister frequently becomes nauseous and has to undergo chemotherapy and dialysis. Hoping to show his support and share her burden in some way, Johnson decided to make her a wig because Maggie had once told him that she really liked his hair. "It made me feel good that I could do something for her," he said. However, this went strictly against Poth High School’s student handbook which states that male students' hair "shall not extended beyond the ear opening on the sides nor beyond the top of a dress shirt collar in the back… Hair may not extend over the top of the eyebrow, hang over the face and eyes or be distracting to others or self."
Despite this, Johnson continued growing his hair but then he was given an ultimatum by the principal to cut it short. i.e. between 8 and 14 inches, by the end of the three-day weekend following Martin Luther King Jr. Day. "It really stressed me out because I already worried about my sister," said Johnson, who really wanted to something for his sister. After having a word with school, Johnson's family decided that he would be home-schooled instead.
Apparently common sense has left the building. Not recognizing the acceptable exceptions to our rules is a basic error in logic.— Bill Isanhart (@waisanhart) February 9, 2020
Speaking to CNN, Poth ISD Superintendent Paula Renken said that Johnson had been told to get his hair in order before winter break in December, and when that didn't happen, he was given the January 21 deadline. "The parent declined the offer from the Poth High School principal, Mr. [Todd] Deaver to set up a meeting with the superintendent to discuss her dissatisfaction with the dress code," revealed Renken. Although his parents did meet with the school they decided not to challenge their decision. "I don’t understand why he has to get in trouble for doing this for me," said Maggie.
Dreadlocks, no good. Long hair, no good. Maybe these schools need to realize they are the issue, not the hairstyle— ResistanceIsPatriotic (@DemResistor) February 9, 2020
However, Renken maintained that even though Johnson had returned to school without a haircut the school would not have denied him education but would possibly have given him after-school detention or in-school suspension. "It was never about not supporting a sick child," she added, noting how the district had raised over $3000 for their family after Maggie was diagnosed. Currently, the teen is still planning on growing out his hair to support his younger sister. "Listen to your kids," said father Alan Johnson. "If they really believe in something, even if it does go against the rules, sometimes you just have to dig deep, see if it’s really worth it or not. It’s worth it."