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Haircut saga grabs global attention
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The No. 1 hit on Google for the words “high and tight” on Friday came back with a picture of a Bobby Ray Elementary second-grader who is at the center of a controversy concerning how he wore his hair to school.
With calls coming from around the country -- and as far away as England -- the high and tight saga has captured more than its 15 minutes of fame. At Bobby Ray Elementary, that attention is not appreciated as the school has fielded hundreds of calls critical of the handling of the haircut worn by second-grader Adam Stinnett.
"The attention this story has received baffles me," said Standard editor James Clark. "When we broke this story last Sunday, I didn't even put it on the front page. It ended up on 3A as what I'd consider a mildly interesting school discipline issue. I think the real story now is how much attention one haircut has received."
The volume of calls has led to beefed up security at Bobby Ray, with both county and city officers on campus. Security was also intensified at Thursday night’s School Board meeting where six officers were present, three city officers at the front door and three officers in the meeting room. Normally, one school resource officer is present for School Board meetings.
The question of the “haircut heard around the world” was never raised during the School Board meeting. Director of Schools Bobby Cox, in a press release about the situation, pointed out there is no county policy concerning how students wear their hair to school. That decision is made by the administration at each individual school.
In addition to Bobby Ray, local businesses have also been impacted. Ashley’s Attic – a local children’s store – has fielded over 20 calls from around the nation.
The store’s phone number has wrongly been posted on a military website that is asking its members to call and voice their displeasure about the Bobby Ray Elementary haircut decision. In one case, Ashley’s Attic owners say the person called back three times, believing the store was really Bob-by Ray Elementary.
The Standard has fielded calls from several media outlets, including the Daily Mail in London.
The attention comes from the decision to call the second-grader’s mother, Amy Stinnett, and give her the option to change her son’s hairstyle or have him face suspension. The mother, to obey the order, shaved the boy’s head. However, she took pictures of her son’s high and tight haircut be-forehand – the same picture that is now the top hit on Google.
School officials have been advised by legal counsel not to comment on the situation. However there have been comments on social media suggesting the haircut shown in the picture is not the same haircut for which principal Monti Hillis took action. The mother disagrees, contending she took the pictures before shaving the boy’s head. School officials have not claimed the picture is inaccurate.
In the area of social media, Warren County Schools has taken down its website due to deluge of hits and comments. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact Bobby Ray is named in honor of Vietnam War hero Bobby Ray. Adam Stinnett was reportedly getting the high and tight haircut in support of his older brother, who is in the military.