Vote: Bald is beautiful

School exempts girl who shaved to support pal

Jamie Renfro hugs and kisses her daughter Kamryn after meeting with the Caprock Academy board Tuesday evening in the gym at the school. The board voted 3-1 to let Kamryn to return to school. Kamryn, a student at Caprock, shaved her head in support of her friend Delaney Clements who is battling Stage 4 cancer. The Renfros left for Denver right after the meeting to be with Delaney who is undergoing chemo treatment.



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.


COMMENTS

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The sad parts of this story are the little girl with cancer and her best friend shaving her head to show support. I am able to empathize with both children because I had an amazingly gifted and vibrant young boy as a music student who died of cancer and whose hair fell out because of “chemo”. Many adults who knew him would have traded their life for his. But that’s not how the universe works.
What is perhaps most educational about the story is how political manipulation works, and how it was utilized effectively to achieve a righteous outcome.
It is both interesting and educational that it seems to have taken front-page media coverage to get a group of “bureaucrats” (for want of a more accurately descriptive word) to vote 3-1 in favor of doing the self-ownership-based right thing.
What is arguably the most amazing part of the story is that the Caprock principal, Kristin Trezise, apparently either thought Kamryn’s cause was not sufficiently noble to warrant an exception, or she thought that she lacked the discretionary authority and the Caprock Board’s confidence in her to solve such a substantively insignificant and inconsequential little situation without letting it get blown into a full-blown “problem” resulting in a big soap-opera-type “news” event.
Leaving the two beautiful little girls and the smarmy politics of plausible denials, “political correctness” and “victimology” — (two little girls = “good guys”, Caprock administration = “bad guys”) — out of the situation for a moment, arguendo, it seems such a rotten shame that the American culture, especially our local culture, seems to have deteriorated to a point where something like this could by any stretch of logic or the imagination be legitimately considered public-interest “news”.
In my view, Bill Newcomer has every right to his opinion without being subtly cast in the role of heartless “bad guy”. Kamryn Renfro has every right to shave her head to show support for a dying friend without the unnecessary distraction of being turned into some sort of “star” in some sort of celebrity-worshipping, Fall-of-the-Roman-Empire, therapy-culture “event”. Lastly, the MSM has every right to cover stories such as this one.
So how exactly is it that all this got blown into a “bread and circuses” sort of “reality show” entertainment for the clamoring “everybody-has-an-opinion” masses? I should think answering that question truthfully would make a genuinely educational REAL news story which might facilitate human progress.

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