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Family accuses Lehi private school of pushing boys out over hair length

Posted at 9:17 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 23:23:03-05

LEHI, Utah — The family of two boys who suddenly left a local private school mid-school year, are wondering why their sons were seemingly ‘un-enrolled against their will’.

The boys’ father posted on social media that his sons were kicked out of the Challenger School in Lehi because their hair length didn't meet the school policy. According to Aaron Wagner, his 8-year-old son Tucker has been at the school for nearly five years and never had been spoken to about his hair until recently.

“He’s got fairly long hair, we’ve never cut his hair ever in his life and it’s really important to him and it’s like part of his identity and his core belief systems,” said Aaron Wagner, who’s sons were given the ultimatum to cut their hair or leave the school.

The dialogue between the school and the family happened in August and after the conversation went back and forth, 6-year-old Jagger was also brought into the equation.

The school asked the students to cut their hair. The Wagner’s inquired asking for other options, including different hair styling or an exemption.

“Nothing else had changed, nothing had changed with my son’s hair, nothing had changed with the dress code,” said Wagner, a father of seven with other children that have attended the school. “Everything was the exact same other than now all the sudden it was a major issue but only a major issue for my children.”

The Challenger School dress code regarding hair is as follows:

  • Hair must be combed or brushed, trimmed, and attractive.  
  • Extreme or unnatural styles or coloring are not permitted; neither are styles/lengths obstructing eyes.  
  • Boys’ hair must be trimmed above the collar and ears. Ponytails, mohawks, facial hair, or shaved heads are not acceptable. 

Wagner believes that his family is being targeted and says that other children in the school have similar hair styles or other styles that also do not meet the dress code. He references various photos on the schools own marketing campaigns as examples. He’s also concerned with the dress code singling out one specific gender when it comes to hair length/style.

“Only boys versus only girls, we’re in a time right now, where essentially children and adults get to identify with whatever sex they want to be, yet my kid can’t wear hair that’s long, I mean, this is just asinine to me,” said Wagner, who also applied for a religious exemption with the endorsement of a local ecclesiastical leader. “We were denied the religious exemption, we were given no reason as to why.”

Wagner isn’t sure what changed over the course of the year, or years that his sons have been in the school. The boys were accepted and enrolled in the school at the beginning of the year when they had similar hair styles. Wagner also says that the school refused to remove the children from the school, but instead gave the family an option of changing their child’s hair style or leave the school on their own.

“If it was up to us our kids would be in school exactly where they’re supposed to be,” said Wagner. “We don’t even have the ability to take them to school because they’re telling us, this informally we’re un-enrolling your kid but they’re actually not saying they’re doing it on their terms, they’re telling us we’re doing it on our terms; and we’re denying that because we didn’t do any of this on our terms.”

Wagner doesn’t intend to enroll any more of his children to the school and isn’t sure where his two boys will be enrolled since it’s the middle of the school year. Currently, the school and the family are in legal discussions. However, he mentioned wanting to start his own school in the future.

“When people cross you and your kids, your kind of willing to do whatever it takes,” said Wagner.

FOX 13 tried to reach Challenger School personnel on Wednesday afternoon but request for comment was not returned.