Renee Szablewski is a good, churchgoing Catholic. She wants her 4-year-old son, Jack, to grow up to be one, too.
That’s why Szablewski was so upset last month with St. Dominic, a parochial school in Brick, N.J. The principal at the school barred Jack from his pre-kindergarten class because his hair was too long.
“That’s Christian? That’s Catholic?” Szablewski fumed during a telephone interview with TODAYshow.com Monday.
Jack’s early lesson in how tough life can be actually began when at the tender age of 16 months, his grandfather died of lung cancer. Renee Szablewski decided to honor her father by letting her son’s hair grow out so that he could donate his locks to be used in wigs for children who lose their own hair to cancer radiation treatment.
Jack has had his blond bangs trimmed since then, but that’s all.
Changing the rules
Szablewski said that St. Dominic knew about the hair-growing project last year when Jack was enrolled in pre-kindergarten classes for the first time. “I said, ‘Listen, this is what we were doing,’ ” Szablewski told TODAYshow.com. “They were like, ‘Oh, that's OK, as long as his hair is cut before kindergarten.’ ”
Jack doesn’t start kindergarten until September 2011, but during the past summer, the school updated its handbook to include pre-K students in the policy mandating that boys keep their hair short and neat. School officials gave Renee Szablewski until Oct. 1 to bring Jack’s hair into compliance.