Girl Who Shaved Head to Support Pal With Cancer Is Allowed Back In School

Beth Greenfield, Shine Staff

A 9-year-old Colorado girl who shaved her head to show support for her best friend battling cancer, was barred from attending school because her baldness violates its dress code. But on Tuesday night, following an outcry about the situation on social media, the Caprock Academy charter school in Grand Junction plans to hold a special meeting to determine if an exception will be made for the empathetic third-grader, Kamryn Renfro. (Update: At that meeting, board members—who had already allowed Renfro to return to school for one day on Tuesday—voted 3 to 1 to approve a waiver allowing Renfro to return permanently, according to KJCT.)

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“Caprock Academy does have a detailed dress code policy, which was created to promote safety, uniformity, and a non-distracting environment for the school’s students. Under this policy, shaved heads are not permitted,” the school noted in a community statement, released to parents Monday. “Exceptions, however, are sometimes made under exigent and extraordinary circumstances.” The statement was posted on Facebook by Wendy Smith Campbell — whose daughter, Delaney Clements, is battling the rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma, and whose hair loss from chemotherapy inspired her friend Kamryn to go bald, too. To the post, Campbell added, “Please tell me how a shaved head is a distraction to a learning environment,” prompting a slew of supportive responses.

Kamryn tells KKCO that she decided to shave her head because “it felt like the right thing to do.” And at least one other friend has joined her as of Monday, according to a photo of another shiny-headed girl posted to Campbell’s Facebook page, with the caption, “Another baldie to add to the bunch!!!!”

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Facebook posts — by both Campbell and Kamryn's mom, Jamie Olson Renfro — brought the story to light beginning on Sunday. That’s when Renfro wrote, in part, “We do sign that we understand and agree to the rules every year...but honestly, I never thought my 9-year-old daughter would do something so courageous, brave and selfless. For this reason, I am asking for anyone that would like to support Kamryn, to do so. I have to wake a little girl up tomorrow, who was excited to go to school and talk to her peers about what she had done and why, and I get to try to explain why she can't do that without making her lose her spirit or feel like she is being punished for something so amazing.” That post, shared more than 180 times, drew many comments, including, “Anyone would be lucky to have her as a friend. I hope the school realizes the error of their decision.”

Campbell, in turn, posted a photo of Delaney and Kamryn together, writing, “So very upset that they would punish a beautiful little girl for being strong and brave and standing up for what she cares and believes in!!!” Since Monday, it’s garnered 660 likes and has been shared more than 2,100 times. And the majority of commenters have been overwhelmingly supportive. "That little girl rocks!! And so do her parents for raising such an amazingly compassionate and empathetic human!! Good for them. Stand strong!" one person wrote. "If the little boys do it, she should be able to do it too. She is so full of compassion and love, we all could learn from this sweet girl," wrote another.

Caprock Academy did not respond to a phone call or email from Yahoo Shine; Campbell and Renfro also could not be reached.

But on Tuesday, Renfro added a lengthy post to Facebook to thank everyone for their support “from the bottom of our hearts” and to explain that there is no ill will. “At no point during this ordeal was Kamryn's school not supportive of her decision, nor show compassion...they just made a decision to enforce their dress code, which we were asking to be changed,” she writes. “They responded to all of our requests, and have treated us with nothing but respect the whole time. Now that we have seen just how much 2 little girls can change the world and touch so many hearts, we are asking for all of this attention to embrace awareness of childhood cancer.” To support Delaney's fight, she notes, people can donate through the family's fund-raising site.

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