When Faye Abunijmeh's 9-year-old son, Habib, decided to grow his hair and eventually donate it to a cancer patient, we can only imagine the mother from Joshua, Texas felt intense pride in her son's selfless actions. Unfortunately, not everyone appeared to see it that way. Joshua Idependent School District (JISD)'s officials have told the mother her son has to cut his hair per the district's dress code, which Abunijmeh views sexist and unfair. So, now, she's fighting against it so her son can have the chance to follow through with his incredibly noble plan.
"My son has been growing [his hair] since Pre-K," Abunijmeh told Parents.com. "[is] last hair cut was in 2013, and in the second grade he saw a picture of a cancer patient and asked why were they bald, so I explained to him. He had asked if they will get their hair back and I said, 'Sometimes, but it's hard for them so sometimes they get wigs.'"
She explained that her son then came to the conclusion that he wanted to get take action. "He wanted to do this," the mom added. "My school has been extremely supportive; it is the district with the huge problem."
According to Abunijmeh, the district requested that her son cut his hair before the start of the school year. Abunijmeh attended a "meet the teacher" event, and she was told that if her son didn't comply, he may not be able to attend classes.
"[I was] a bit shocked, upset because of their rules genderizing our boys and holding them to a different senseless reasoning is what gets me," she said. "They keep saying [the dress code] is for hygiene, and that it's to prevent disruption, and it's a safety hazard. Those terms do not make sense because girls have same length and longer and they are not looked upon as a disruption or hazard."
Abunijmeh contacted the district's superintendent, who reportedly denied her request. While he admitted that Habib's actions were worthy of praise, the superintendent stood by the school's dress code, under which boys must not have hair that hangs below the top of a t-shirt collar and can't wear ponytails or buns.
In response, Abunijmeh created a Change.org petition to "make a statement" and work toward changing the dress code. "It is not fair for all our male students, who wish to express themselves and are denied because of an archaic rule," she writes in the petition.
"I'm doing this for all the boys!" Abunijmeh said. "People are used to hearing discrimination against females, but they never hear against males, so they're kind of having a hard time grasping that matter."