Where does beauty, meet charity, meet breaking the rules? Right on top of J.T. Gaskins’ head apparently. The 17-year-old cancer survivor is making a bold attempt to grow his hair out to donate to Locks of Love in the middle of his senior year of high school. Though he has been cancer-free since 2003, he was recently touched by a friend battling the disease and decided to grow his hair for the donation to both support his friend and celebrate the end of his years of pediatric cancer checkups. He is a brave, caring boy, right? Of course he is, but there is a glitch.
The school he attends has a rule about how long boys can wear their hair, and they are not making any exceptions. His mother, Christa Plante, is shocked that the school has insisted he cut his hair. He has been suspended and will not be allowed back until he either cuts it or styles it differently. Though the school says he may style his hair in a way that gets it out of his eyes and off of his ears and collar, they have not been receptive to the suggestions of slicking it back or wearing it in a ponytail. There are not many other options.
At a meeting with the school board, Plante suggested adding a donation clause so that other boys at the school could not take advantage of a loop hole in the hair length for boys rule. It was denied, as was her suggestions for various hairstyles until time to cut. Despite the fact that he has already missed two weeks of his senior year, Gaskins is not backing down either. He knows what he wants, and he intends to get it done.
While true beauty is not linked to hair, humans naturally admire beautiful locks, and Locks of Love creates hair pieces made from real hair for those who have lost their hair for medical reasons. Apparently applauding his effort, Gaskins’ teachers are sending home work each day for him to complete, and his mother says she tries to keep each school day as conducive to learning as possible. While at home, Gaskins may not have his cell phone or television during school hours, and she still makes him get up early to get started on his work in an effort to keep him from falling behind while his hair continues to grow.
UPDATE: This morning, J.T. Gaskins and his mother, Christa Plante, have announced that, with Madison Academy unable to provide acceptable options or willing to accept any of their proposals, Gaskins will transfer to his local public school, which will let him re-enter a learning environment while still remaining dedicated to his cause.