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Ball Don't Lie

A school counselor reportedly shaved off a child’s Miami Heat-themed hairdo against a parent’s wishes

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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(Images courtesy NBC 6 South Florida)

Goofy haircuts can be briefly distracting, especially in dull junior high school setting, where even the most mindful of students are just staring down that clock on the wall, waiting for 3 PM to hit. This is why just about every school has a dress code of sorts that extends toward haircuts, even if we’re years past arguing over hair length, or Mohawks, or 1990s-styled color trends.

One thing you’d think we’d be past arguing over is the idea that shaving a logo or innocuous word into your hair would be a problem for a young student, as this staple of the late 1980s seems a little quaint in the modern era.

That apparently isn’t the case for Harns Marsh Middle School in Lehigh, Florida; and more specifically, it’s not the case for that school’s student counselor, and assistant principal. They reportedly shaved a Miami Heat tribute out of 11-year old Danny Valdes’ head without permission from his parents, after assuring the child’s stepfather (who runs a barbershop and gave the kid the haircut in anticipation of attending his first Miami Heat game) that Danny would be allowed to have his stepfather alter the haircut.


From NBC 6 in South Florida:

Valdes’ head was designed by his stepfather, who owns a barbershop, for a Miami Heat game that he attended. His head was designed with the Miami Heat logo, Miami skyline and 305 writing.

"I wanted to get my hair like that to show how proud I am of my Heat," Valdes told NBC 2.

Valdes attended the Miami Heat game during his winter break but kept the haircut when he returned to school last week.

The assistant principal then called the boy's stepfather, Arnaldo Fernadez, to notify him.

"I told her when he gets home from school I'll cut his hair and I'll make it toward their regulations," Fernandez said.

A school counselor then shaved the student’s hair with a pair of hair clippers so he could return to class, saying his stepfather said it was OK.

The 11-year-old student agreed to the haircut so he wouldn't miss class, but his stepfather said he never gave the school permission.

The school said the haircut, which featured the Heat logo, Miami skyline, and 305 local area code, was “distracting” and “gang-related.” That whole “gang-related” part is probably news to 11-year old Danny Valdes, who can be seen in a video on this page, weirdly not involved in gang activity.

Why school administrators couldn’t have, at best, just let the kid have the haircut is beyond me. At worst, they could have let him serve out the in-school suspension for the next few hours – on the first day back from winter break, which as a father of an 11-year old I can assure you that precious little learning takes place on that first day back – and have his stepfather amend the haircut rather than basically shaving it off.

Here is the school’s response:

"While the school counselor followed the wishes of the student and instructions of the student's stepfather that were provided over the phone in the presence of several witnesses, the district acknowledges the action taken by personnel were not appropriate."

So the 11-year old kid – stuck in an in-school suspension after being told that he was a distraction and that his haircut was “gang-related” – said it was OK to cut the hair. Yeah, we can’t imagine any feelings of coercion or pressure from a group of school administrators went into that young child’s decision.

You might recall that this isn’t the first time a school has trumped up pointless controversy over an NBA-related haircut. Two years ago, a child in Texas received the same treatment for shaving an image of San Antonio Spurs shooter Matt Bonner into his head. Bonner, who was an Academic All-American at college, later supplied the kid with all manner of Spurs swag, and he was allowed to return to the Bonner ‘do as soon as school ended a month later. One would hope that the defending champion Heat could find time to do the same.

The whole thing speaks of haughty administrators apparently looking for the same distractions to busy themselves with as children do while counting down the hours in a school day. These things distract from absolutely nothing following the first look and “oh, cool, your stepdad did that?”-response; and they’re certainly no statement of character. My wife runs a hair salon and is currently outfitted in lovely pink hair – and that doesn’t in the slightest take away from her acumen as a businesswoman, or her abilities as a superparent.

Chiding the child is one thing. Handing him a suspension is another.

Shaving the kid’s head? What in the world were they thinking?

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Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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