Mom: Son Kicked Out Of Catholic School For Long Hair

BRICK, N.J. (1010 WINS) — A 4-year-old New Jersey boy, who has been growing out his hair to raise money for the National Children’s Leukemia Foundation, has been kicked out of his Catholic school for violating the dress code.

Jack Szablewski’s long, blonde locks stretch 12 inches, almost down to his waist on his tiny frame.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

“It was my idea to donate his hair to a cause,” his mother, Renee, told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg.

After Jack’s grandfather died of cancer, Renee wanted to help children with leukemia.

jack Mom: Son Kicked Out Of Catholic School For Long Hair

Jack Szablewski (Handout)

Renee Szablewski said, in a letter to Carol Bathmann – the principal of St. Dominic School in Brick, N.J., that she made an appointment to have Jack’s hair cut at FERRAZZ hair salon in Hoboken on Sept. 30.

She said Jack’s hair donation was being merged with the story of Shannon Tavarez, the 11-year-old girl that played Nala in Broadway’s “The Lion King.” Tavarez lost her battle with leukemia this week.

Szablewski said the trip to the salon had to be postponed because of inclement weather. When she arrived at St. Dominic’s the next day, neither she nor Jack were allowed on school property, Szablewski said.

Szablewski said Bathmann failed to return her phone calls, respond to her letter or arrange a meeting at a time convenient to both her and her husband.

“We were being punished for an act of charity,” Szablewski said.

The Diocese says the family was given 13 months to cut Jack’s hair and were told he could keep it long until the first day of kindergarten.

Renee calls it an abuse of power.

“If Jesus was to come back down today and go to St. Dominic’s, would they kick him out,” Renee asked. “I think that they would because he doesn’t fit the dress code.”

Renee said she was reimbursed $1,000 of tuition but did not get back hundreds of dollars in fees and donations to the school.

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  • Margaret J.

    I feel sorry for this little kid. Kicking him out of school was an act of extreme stupidity. Only idiots judge people by how they look.

    • Paul

      Any time anyone enforces a reasonable social code people scream foul. No one was ‘punihsed for an act of charity”. What a duplicitous and dishonest portrayal. Thirteen months was given to get the hair cut. We can’t have boys and girls tripping over hair, or wearing pants three yards too long or any other balanced code of dress and behavior. Only idiots judge institutions for enforcing reasonable standards after showing more than a year’s patience.

  • steve

    He’s a cute little girl.

  • Amie

    The love of God is not measured in the length of someone’s hair or appearances. Ridiculous people and their ridiculous interpretations of faith make religion a plight of debate rather than enlightment. This is why I don’t care for people’s ideas.

    • Paul

      What , other than setting rational standards, has this got to do with religion? Talk about “Ridiculou8s people and their ridiculous interpretations”. Just because it was a Catholic school, how does this become a ‘religious’ story? If it were a Jewish school or black school, would it be a story about Jews or blacks? Bigotry.. the gift the keeps on giving.

  • g

    they wont kick out child molesters like priests why cant they just move him around like they do with the priests

    • Paul

      The John Jay College of Criminal Justice report, did NOT find the church’s practices particulary at fault in this terrible scandal. It was the culture; the values and behavior of the culture that infected outfits like the Boy Scouts of America too. The church tried counseling and other means with some success but too many failures. Serious derelictions of duty were not commonplace and the response has made the US Catholic school system the safest place on earth for a child according to independent audits.

  • Fed up

    Yes rules are rules, but what about all the priests that broke the rules while molesting children, and the powers that be just looked the other way?

  • MarieV1021

    Rules are rules. I went to Catholic school and for the longest time the hairline didn’t pass the collar. I agree Widow Maker. Tick, tick, tick….

  • Jenn

    Just have him put it up in a hair clip.
    On a side note, I can’t say I agree that the mother should be allowed to make her 5 year old son look like a little girl. It borders on abuse. Other children are cruel. The article says it was her idea, not her son’s.

  • jayne

    She doesn’t know how lucky she is. I endured 12 years of catholic school abuse. Her son will be a better man because of getting kicked out.



  • sk

    I agree taht if you don’t agree with a school rule, that you already know, then don’t send your child there. There are other alternatives. If it is very iimportant to you to send your child to Catholic school, perhaps you can find other ways to help those with cancer. You can arrange a toy drive, a bake/book sale, encourage the school to make a childrens’ play and raise money. There are other ways for this vital cause with out breaking school rules (or making a big deal at out of it.

  • rich

    I am catholic and went to catholic for 12 years plus 3 years of grad school. This is perfect example of why I never sent my kids to catholic school. And they wonder why thier enrolment is down????

  • Linda

    I agree with JD and the Widow Maker. Too bad for some. Rules are rules.

  • Jojo

    I think this mother is just trying to get her kid his 5 minutes of fame. Hoping to maybe get him into pictures etc. He is cute though

  • Father Mulcahy

    He should’ve put it up in a bun, for cornssakes! Did he go as an Olsen twin on Halloween?

  • CSI

    Thats what happens when your catholic. Good judges you on your appearance. He doesn’t love everyone. Thanks for opening more eyes. Rules my @$$.

  • Roy

    They knew the rules,they recieved additional time to get the kid a hircut,yet now they complain it’s unfair.Send the kid to punlic school with that hair,and I guarantee he comes home crying every day from the harassment.Then they can SUE the school system…………..idiot parents

  • Chuck

    Nice Christian Catholics.
    Well, One out of three.

  • valerie

    OH, what BS! So, if he were a girl, things would be different? It’s not like the kid’s hair was a big mess or something. He was doing this for CHARITY. Shame on the school!

    • Isabella

      Um yes, IF he were a girl, things SHOULD be different with regard to the length of the hair. Shame on YOU for suggesting that rules shouldn’t be followed just because it’s for charity.

  • abby

    The only problem I see that the school does have a dress code and that should be respected. The donation is very honorable, but unfortunately rules are rules.

  • JD

    if everyone does this it will be a free for all. He’s in Catholic school where there is a dress code. Stay to the rules or go to public school simple as that.

  • John Richard

    Catholic school has rules no matter what the situation. Publilc Schools don’t. Enjoy public school. Best of Luck.

  • bob

    didnt jesus have long hair?

  • Widow Maker

    Rules are rules and are meant to be followed. Welcome to your 15 minutes of fame.

  • klawton

    She just wouldn’t follow the rules WHICH she knew well in advance! She got her money back and her 2 minutes of fame.



  • Sal

    This goes to show that the catholic church is still in the dark ages oh that’s right long hair was common back then I think even some popes had long hair.
    I for one think it’s time for the church and the particular Diocese to come out of that closet they been locked in for the past few hundred years.
    And all that from a Catholic for now anyway.

  • Isabella

    It’s hard to believe that a four year old child would understand anything about cancer or the charity “Locks for Love”, without much prodding from the parents. Catholic schools have a very strict dress policy and one of them is LONG hair on boys. I’m sure the 4 year old would understand THAT. So idiot, your kid didn’t get kicked out because of his long hair. Most probably he got kicked out because you didn’t follow school policy and they feel you and your husband will be future pain in the azzes. Given the fact you pointed this out to the media without taking responsibility in YOUR part in this ridiculous story, I’m sure the school is right.

  • Belial

    Anget Neurotic Catholics

  • Patricia

    This family was well aware of the rules regarding hair length, before their son was enrolled in the school, and they were “… given 13 months to cut Jack’s hair and were told he could keep it long until the first day of kindergarten”.
    What else do the need?
    Children must realize that rules are rules, as do these parents.

  • Dee Skjeveland

    Renee is right, would they throw Jesus out today? Shame on St Dominics. Yet another reason why I no longer participate in the Catholic religion.

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