“Cut Your Dreadlocks Or Find A New School”: Student Given Ultimatum From School And His Parents Are Angry

Sometimes school dress codes or uniforms are a good thing – a student doesn’t have to worry about what to wear; making their life easier.

Other times dress codes and uniforms can bring about problematic situations. Like for Braxton Schafer who was given an ultimatum by his school.

Braxton Schafer

14-year-old Braxton Schafer attended Bishop O’Gorman Catholic School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

He thought everything was fine, until the school gave him an ultimatum – “Cut your dreadlocks or find a new school.”

Mom Said It Best

Braxton’s mom, Toni Schafer, was outraged by the situation and said,

Photo by Mental Health America (MHA)/pexels
Photo by Mental Health America (MHA)/pexels

“We’re sitting here talking about haircuts when I’m sending him there for an education. And we’re getting booted because we have long hair.”

The Family Was Open To Compromises

Braxton’s parents met with school administration after being told about the problem.

Unsplash/Sam Balye
Unsplash/Sam Balye

Derrick Schafer, Braxton’s dad, said, “we were open to a lot of different compromises, the only one was just not cutting his hair.”

Dreadlocks Are Important To Braxton’s Culture

According to Braxton’s parents, he has only ever cut his hair once in his life.

Toni Schafer
Toni Schafer

Toni said, “The important part of that cultural piece is the length of the lock, not the actual lock itself.”

Braxton’s Always Been An Outsider

Braxton has had dreadlocks since he was 8-years-old. And his dreadlocks were shoulder length when he enrolled into the private Catholic School board in 2018.

Photo by Calbert Warner/pexels
Photo by Calbert Warner/pexels

Though Toni believes the school’s decision had nothing to do with the policy, stating, “Braxton’s always been an outsider.”

Bishop O’Goram’s Hair Policy

“Locs and dreadlocks aren’t the issues. The length has only ever been the issue,” said Kyle Groos, President of Bishop O’Gorman Catholic School.

Photo by Hussein Altameemi/pexels
Photo by Hussein Altameemi/pexels

The school’s hair policy states that boys must keep hair length above the eyes and not touch the collar.

Catholic School’s Structure

Kyle Groos explains,

Photo by RODNAE Productions/pexels
Photo by RODNAE Productions/pexels

“People in enroll in our Catholic schools, then they know what we stand for, and they know what we are representing and the structure and environment that we will create for their family.”

The Agreement

The Schafers decided that Braxton would stay at Bishop O’Goram until the end of the semester so he could partake in football and band.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio/pexels
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio/pexels

And the school agreed that they would allow Braxton to come to school with his current hair length until he leaves.

Transferring Schools

After his semester, Braxton will transfer to a different school.


Toni says, “Since he’s practiced and had a game, he would not be able to transfer into another school and continue with the activity. He just wants to go to school, play football, be in a marching band, and hangout with kids.”