When Texas teen Newt Johnson found out that his little sister Maggie was diagnosed with Wegener’s disease, he knew that she would eventually lose her beautiful red locks from chemotherapy, and he wanted to provide a solution for her for when that happened.
Wegener’s disease is a rare autoimmune disease that affects the kidneys, leaving Maggie with severe nausea, headaches and eventually having to withdraw from school.
Johnson wanted so badly to alleviate some of his little sister’s pain and decided that he would grow out his hair until it was long enough to make it into a wig for her. However, there was just one problem. Growing out his hair would mean that Johnson would have to withdraw from his school due to a school policy. According to the Poth Independent School District, obtained by CNN, male students are not permitted to have hair extending “beyond the ear opening on the sides nor beyond the top of a dress shirt collar in the back.”
“It really stressed me out because I already worried about my sister,” CNN quotes Johnson. “It made me feel good that I could do something for her.”
Instead of abiding by the rules, Johnson decided that he would rather leave school than give up the opportunity to help his little sister. Though having to make this decision stressed Johnson out, he knew that it would be worth it in the end.
I agree with Johnson’s decision to leave his school. Even though there are certain rules that should be enforced, the length of someone’s hair should not be a top priority, especially when it was for an amazing cause.
The school administration should have made an exception for Johnson’s case and put themselves in his shoes. The one thing that Johnson was trying to do was make his sister more comfortable through an extremely difficult time in her life and his only options were to withdraw from school or be suspended and have detention. Though the school argued that Johnson would not have been denied his education completely, even putting him through suspension and detention would affect his time in school.
In addition, I do not think it was right for the school district to further upset a child who is fighting for her life. “I don’t understand why he has to get in trouble for doing this for me,” Maggie said.
I believe that this story should inspire school districts to make exceptions in their policies for circumstances such as this. The length of Johnson’s hair should not matter nor affect his performance in school. Therefore, I fully support his decision to withdraw from school and make his little sister’s pain just a little bit more bearable.