Jan 13, 2014 11:47 AM by David Randall
LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. - A Harns Marsh Middle School student spent Wednesday in in-school suspension. School leaders said his haircut was too distracting, but it's what a school counselor did next that is stirring up the controversy.
He picked up a pair of clippers and shaved Danny Valdes' head.
The 11-year-old misses his haircut.
"I wanted to get my hair like that to show how proud I am of my Heat," Danny said.
He was going to his first Miami Heat game the last weekend of winter break.
His stepdad, Arnaldo Fernandez, owns Cutting Edge Barbershop and carefully cut the Miami Heat logo, area code and skyline into Danny's hair before Sunday's game.
When school started up again Wednesday, Danny kept the hair. But when he came home, it looked a lot different.
"My husband fine-tuned it a little bit, but he was bald, the total design was gone," said Stephanie Fernandez, Danny's mom.
Administrators at Harns Marsh Middle School in Lehigh Acres said Danny's hair was a distraction and gang-related. The assistant principal sent him to in-school suspension and called Danny's stepdad.
"I told her when he gets home from school I'll cut his hair and I'll make it toward their regulations," Arnaldo said.
But a school counselor grabbed a pair of clippers and shaved the 11-year-old's hair so he could go back to class, saying Danny's step dad OK'd it.
"It's frustrating because to me it seems like they think they got the power to do whatever they want," Arnaldo said.
He claims he never gave the school permission.
"I was just really upset because I didn't think their proper protocol was to cut his hair," Stephanie said.
It's not protocol. The school district says an employee should never cut a student's hair, but this one had good intentions and said Danny's stepdad told him it was okay.
Danny agreed to the cut because he didn't want to miss class.
"I was pretty disappointed, it was a cool haircut and it was ruined," he said.
The counselor who cut Danny's hair won't lose his job, but has been told not to cut anyone's hair in the future.
Danny's mom was so upset by the way this was handled, they are switching schools.
The district released this statement to the media Friday:
"While the school counselor followed the wishes of the student and instructions of the student's stepfather that were provided over the phone in the presence of several witnesses, the district acknowledges the action taken by personnel were not appropriate."
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