The Barrie Examiner - Ontario, CA
School policy leaves Barrie boy feeling blue; Sent home after dyeing his hair for hockey
Posted By TRACY McConkey
Posted 1 day ago
Old-fashioned team spirit went up in a bluish smoke yesterday when a Grade 7 student was sent home because he had dyed his hair blue for his Barrie hockey team's playoff games.
"I guess I'll take one for the team," quipped Adam Zussino, 13, a Grade 7 student at St. Catherine of Siena School in Barrie, who was told to go home after his principal had a look at his bright blue hair.
Zussino and his peewee 'A' teammates dyed their hair blue for the team color to start the playoffs began.
"We were shocked," said his mother, Brenda Zussino. She and her husband went to school yesterday morning with Adam to explain to principal Mario Melchiorre why their son was a little off-colour.
"He was very nice, but he said Adam can't come to school," she said. "He said if the school allows Adam to have blue hair then he has to allow punks, emos and gangs to wear colours. I think that's ridiculous. We're talking about team spirit and the great Canadian sport."
While Adam is not officially suspended from school, he is not allowed to come back until his hair is brown. Or blond. Or black. Meanwhile, teammates who attend other schools were met with cheers of support when they went to school yesterday.
"My teacher loved it," said teammate Cameron Russell, 12, who attends Pope Jean Paul II elementary school, which is also a Catholic school. "He said it's good for team spirit."
A dress code for St. Catherine of Siena states: "Students shall not have extreme colours and styles related to certain subcultures that are not in keeping with Christian values."
But Zussino says she believes team spirit is exactly the kind of Christian values that should be encouraged.
"I don't remember reading anything in the Bible that says God doesn't like blue hair," she said. "These are dedicated kids who do their homework and get up in the dark at five in the morning to go to practise."
She says some of the team parents are so upset they wrote letters to Don Cherry.
A spokesperson for the Simcoe-Muskoka Catholic District School Board said the dress code was written by the parents of the school, and it's not up to the principal to change the rules.
"Hair colour is a concern to parents, because there are a lot of different styles related to gangs and off cultures, and that's not something parents want to see," she said. "The code is very clear, and it has been met by the parents with overwhelming support."
Adam's parents say they will allow him to do his schoolwork at home for the playoff season, rather than back out on his team.
"I live for hockey," Adam said. "I didn't know I was doing anything wrong."
Parents of the rest of Adam's team say they will be coming to tonight's game at the East Bayfield Community Centre wearing blue wigs.