IMPORTANT UPDATE: Yesterday, I spoke directly with this child's father as well as the school district. I can now assure you that the matter is being resolved in the best interest of the seven-year-old student, Owen Dean. The elementary school and Owen's parents are working together to ensure that Owen is comfortable, and the school district is open to working with Alopecia World to promote alopecia awareness in an effort to decrease the likelihood that children like Owen will be teased due to a physical or medical condition. We will provide updates on the progress of these matters. For now, however, we ask that all members and supporters of Alopecia World refrain from contacting the school or school district about these matters.
With great appreciation,
richard jones (rj)
Co-founder, Alopecia World
Parents say school district forced seven-year-old with alopecia areata to shave his patchy hair to keep it from being a distraction!
Hey RJ.. How old is this footage? I heard UC Davis mentioned....thats right where I live. I will personally go talk to the school if I can. This is outrageous!! This shouldn't be happening...PLEASE let me know if i can get involved and help out Owen!!!
This child and his parents are to be commended for Owen's strength in the face of adversity -- and I would highly recommend his family contacting the ACLU regarding the callous, insensitive, blanketly hostile treatment by the school system. I have no doubts whatsoever that what Owen's parents say happened occurred exactly as they told it, and that bullshit statement the school spokesperson gave is nothing more than a thinly veiled cop-out. Why subject an already suffering child and his family to even more ridicule and hostility unnecessarily? And what makes this worse, the hair that was on that poor child's head was his immune system's last stand against alopecia totally taking over.
Let me stop, because seeing that video just makes me madder than a wet hornet right about now -- schools want to "prevent bullying and the causes of it", yet when they do dumbass things like make a 7-year-old shave his head against his or his family's wishes they are doing nothing more than painting a target on that child's back and perpetuating the cycle.
I read the article and it is very disturbing. I work for a public school district, and I know that this behavior of not allowing what is in the best interest of the child "Owen". However, if it is a private school then the overall policies and procedures governing them may be somewhat different. My daughter has AA and she has a note to wear hats to school. The only problem is that she doesn't want to wear the hats because people will be asking her why she gets to do so. She would rather not have all the attention it would cause. Regardless, this is an option that the school has to allow. These parents should find out what their legal rights are. The should also ask for written policy that addresses medical waivers. This may be something that the school board needs to dicuss and set into policy.
I read alot here but tend not to comment too much. I received this email on my cell phone just now and had to take a look because it quickly made me very frustrated and upset. I feel for this little boy and his parents and commend them all for the strength they have. I cannot say if it were me I would be so kind unfortunately.
My daughters school, teachers, and students were all were very positive and respectful to my daughters needs when we explained to them about her alopecia and I am quite thankful for that. The parent's and school district need to sit down and work out a resolution that is best for the little boy.
Very ignorant! So I suppose a child going through chemo who's hair was falling out would be forced to shave their head. Good job!!!! So it's not enough that these children have been through so much already, they (school district) now wants to take away the last bit of dignity that these kids might have. I wonder how the folks who make these rules would feel if it was their own child who had a serious illness and had to conform to these ridiculous rules. What's next on the agenda for the school district: No canes for the blind, no hearing aids for the deaf......
I think that is just awful. Owen seems like such a well adjusted child and shouldn't have to go through this. I would take it up with the school district, go to court if I have to. His little mohawk looked adorable, and it wasn't sticking up, so what is their problem. It seems like the school district seems bothered with it, not the kids. They should leave him alone.
No doubt that Owen's school made a "mountain out of a mole hill" and in the process made themselves look very bad.
A sensitive approach would have been MUCH better for everyone involved. Isn't it obvious that this kid is not part of a street gang? I don't like the message their reaction is sending to Owen's classmates either: if you are the least bit different - look out! You will get lots of negative attention and be subjected to ridicule. This could have been a wonderful opportunity for the school community to embrace Owen's differences. I also couldn't help but notice how the headline was meant for shock value: "Disabled child forced to shave head." I guess alopecia just isn't a headline grabber.
Any mention of products and services on Alopecia World is for informational purposes only; it does not imply a recommendation or endorsement by Alopecia World. Nor should any statement or representation on this site be construed as professional, medical or expert advice, or as pre-screened or endorsed by Alopecia World. Alopecia World is not responsible or liable for any of the views, opinions or conduct, online or offline, of any user or member of Alopecia World.