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Breast Cancer Awareness Headband Causes Controversy

A Bel Air Middle School student says he was told he couldn't wear a headband to school.

A young Bel Air boy is at a loss after his efforts to show support for breast cancer awareness were deemed inappropriate by his school.

Samuel Queen posted a message on the Bel Air Patch Facebook page explaining his desire to wear a pink headband to Bel Air Middle School in honor of breast cancer awareness month.

The letter states the student was told the headband violated school policy because it didn't hold his hair down.

Teri Kranefeld, manager of communication for Harford County Public Schools, said she was not aware of the incident, but said any items that distract from smooth school operations can be prohibited at the discretion of the school administration.

The school system's policy on head wear states, "Head wear, including, but not limited to, hats, visors, doo rags, sweatbands, and bandannas, is not to be worn inside school buildings during the school day."

The following is the letter posted by Samuel Queen:

I am a middle school student attending Bel Air Middle School in Harford County, MD. Recently it has become the month of October. It is mostly known for its breast cancer awareness. I have a history with family when it comes to cancer in general. I have had 3 family members die of cancer, the first being diagnosed in 3rd grade.

I shaved my head bald in support of my Uncle who was diagnosed. Cancer is not a topic I take lightly. I purchased a pink, white, and black breast cancer head band to wear in school in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month. I also shaved my head once again to show support. On the first day wearing it i was told to take it off. Reasons being because I was a "guy" and had "no hair to hold down."

This made me upset. I told my parents about it and they told me to "drop the topic." But that is not what I wanted to do. I wanted to show support. The next day, I walked into school and asked my assistant principle if head bands were allowed in school. He told me no, and that it was a county wide rule that head bands were not aloud.

But girls wear head bands all the time at school. So why cant I? Just because I am a guy and have no hair? He then told me "Girls wear them to hold their hair down." he even said "A guy with long hair still could not wear a head band."

So this, from his words, has only been directed to guys. "I had a couple of guys at a previous school wear head bands that represented a gang." But girls can be in gangs too?

I had done some research and found no such rule limiting head bands from our school. One rule did state though that "Head wear, including, but not limited to, hats, visors, doo rags, sweatbands, and bandannas, is not to be worn inside school buildings during the school day." None of which had applied to what I was wearing. Now of course school rules can make you take something off if it is a distraction to class but that has not been brought up in discussion yet. What should I do?

Jake Q October 12, 2012 at 04:52 AM
The act of saying the headband had to be removed was enough to show that his freedom of speech has been limited. His parents understand that Samuel is smart enough to shut down an adults argument based of their own rules and can turn the table (based on his older brothers time familiarizing himself with the same rules, in the same office), but has also been told by his superiors in the school that anything further on this situation will result in more trouble with the school.... thus you don't see Sam commenting on this (sounds like further limitation on his speech, but for current arguments sake lets put that besides the point).... Sam is in this situation as a kid with a small voice and no further guidance by anyone else. He knows it would be foolish on both his part and the schools part for this to reach a court situation. The best result that could come out of this would be the school swallowing their own pride and apologizing, as well as, the school working with the school's own student president (Sam Queen) on reviews of certain policies.
Leslie Schildgen October 12, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Do you have an attorney to file a complaint with the school
CB9678 October 13, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Jake did you read the abovee link in it's entirety???? It said dress codes are not a 1st ammendment violation based on a multitude of SCOTUS cases. The Obrien test being the one most frequently used.
Vincere October 18, 2012 at 07:13 PM
How about turning this into a positive event. Get the school on board with sponsoring a "Support Breast Cancer Awareness Day/Week" (SBCA) where eveyone gets to wear predetermined and school appropriate items. Have a fundraiser selling some SBCA items for kids to purchase and wear. Turn your lemon juice into lemonade!
tswiftyy<3 November 21, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Ha ha:) lol i go to bams and i lovee saying that! lol:) I know of sam and his story and i think our administration should look at the deeper message! This is bigger then a headband! I have read over that rule in our planners so many times, i just forget about it! But it doesnt apply to the situation, and we have so many bigger rules about guns and weapons that should be what our admin cares about more. not just some awesome headband!!!! Great job dude, keep it up <3333333

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