Vote: Bald is beautiful
School exempts girl who shaved to support pal
Caprock Academy third-grader Kamryn Renfro got permission Tuesday night to do exactly what she set out to do when she had her head shaved over the weekend — sport her new bald ‘do at school and elsewhere to show support for her best friend, neuroblastoma patient Delaney Clements, and raise awareness of childhood cancer.
Renfro’s mother, Jamie, said she emailed Caprock administration Sunday to tell them her daughter came home Saturday from a sleepover sans hair. Renfro said Caprock Headmaster Kristin Trezise told her Kamryn could not attend class Monday because coming to school with a shaved head would violate Caprock’s School Family Handbook dress code policy, but she could seek a waiver to the policy through the school’s board of directors.
The board scheduled a special meeting to hear the request Tuesday evening and Kamryn was allowed to attend school Tuesday.
The board met for 47 minutes before voting 3-1 to grant the waiver. Board member Bill Newcomer cast the dissenting vote, saying his decision had nothing to do with the Renfros.
“I believe Caprock has a mission and a vision and that mission and vision elevates critical thinking and puts it above emotionally charged decisions,” Newcomer said. “My fear is this sets a precedent and nudges us down a path we don’t want to follow.”
Board member Tim Fry said the state-affiliated, public charter school is still learning in its seventh year of operation. He said the board plans to learn from this incident and encourage families to bring ideas about school policies to the board.
Board Chair and President Catherine Norton Breman said this is the first time she can recall a question arising about a school policy. She began the meeting by telling an audience of about 20 people, mostly teachers and reporters, that she and other board members applaud “compassion and selfless acts” like Kamryn’s.
“The underlying reason (for Kamryn’s shaved head) is and was commendable,” she said.
After the meeting, Kamryn, 9, said she wanted to make her friend feel not alone after Delaney’s hair fell out due to chemotherapy. Kamryn, who donned a white cap to Tuesday’s meeting, said she was just determined to help a friend.
“The reason why (I did it) is, my best friend has cancer and the medicine made her hair fall out,” she said. “I wasn’t nervous, I wanted to do it.”
Jamie Renfro said her daughter begged for two weeks for permission to shave her head but mom said no and was still weighing the pros and cons with her daughter when Kamryn told Delaney she got the OK from her parents and they shaved her head with help from an adult, according to Jamie.
Jamie and her husband, Nate, were surprised at first but Jamie said she quickly realized her daughter had done a selfless thing and supported her decision.
“We want to use this platform to make people aware of childhood cancer,” she said.
The Renfros said they are not upset with Caprock throughout this process and want to “stop the negativity.” Calls and emails have been flooding the school since news of Kamryn’s suspension spread online and through local and national media Monday and Tuesday.
Some of the messages have threatened violence against the school, according to one staff member. Two uniformed Grand Junction police officers attended Tuesday’s meeting, a service Trezise said was offered by a school resource officer who sometimes comes to the school.
Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper said police presence at the meeting was not the result of a specific threat but something the department decided to offer due to high emotions and the mass attention the issue has garnered.
Trezise said following Tuesday’s meeting that classes continued as usual Monday and Tuesday. She hopes people understand the school policy, not Kamryn’s intentions, was the reason she was not allowed in school at first.
“I just hope this will help people understand what we did and why we did it,” Trezise said.