March 26, 2014 at 11:12 AM ET
It wasn’t an act of rebellion that got 9-year-old Kamryn Renfro banned from school: It was a compassionate gesture of solidarity.
When she heard about her friend’s struggle with cancer, the Colorado girl decided to shave off her own hair as a sign of support.
"It felt like the right thing to do,” Kamryn told TODAY in a report that aired Wednesday.
But the gesture went against her charter school’s dress code against shaved heads, and Kamryn was forbidden to attend school until her hair grew back.
On Tuesday night, Caprock Academy’s school board took up the matter and voted 3-1 in favor of letting Kamryn return to the public charter school in Grand Junction, Colo.
But the move came only after the girl’s mom raised attention to what happened to her daughter through a social media campaign. Jamie Renfro had taken to Facebook to express her frustration.
"I have to wake up a little girl tomorrow who was excited to go to school and talk to her peers about what she had done and why,” she wrote.
Kamryn said she decided to shave her hair off while playing with her 11-year-old friend, Delaney Clements, who lost her hair during chemotherapy she received while fighting a rare form of childhood cancer.
"People would call me a boy sometimes. They would give me dirty looks and stare at me all the time,” Delaney said.
The two girls go to different schools, but Kamryn didn’t want Delaney to feel alone, so she got permission to shave her head. The decision touched Delaney's mother, Wendy Campbell.
“I was kind of taken aback that at such a young age she wanted to do something so bold,” she said.
But it was a move too bold for Kamryn’s school.
"I felt bad for her, because she was excited to go to school and show everybody what she did,” Delaney said.
That’s when Kamryn’s mom took to Facebook and called attention to her daughter's situation.
"We knew from the beginning that they had policies and procedures, and we were trying to go about the right channels to get that changed,” Jamie Renfro said.
Ultimately, it was Kamryn who ended up teaching her a school a lesson.
"I thought that people might make fun of me, but now that I actually got to go to school they actually didn't make fun of me,” she said.