SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The parents of an O’Gorman High School freshman student say he will be leaving the school after he was told he had to cut his hair. His family says their son Braxton Schafer, who is Black and has locs that reach his shoulders, doesn’t want to cut them.

Administration told the family on Friday that Braxton’s hair has to follow policy with regard to length. Braxton will be allowed to stay at O’Gorman this semester. His family says they don’t know where he’ll study next semester- but it won’t be at O’Gorman.

A lady who styles Braxton’s hair organized a photo shoot in downtown Sioux Falls on Monday night. Braxton’s mom says his locs are personal to her son whom she and her husband Derrick adopted when he was a newborn.

“Strength, pride and part of him, a piece of him that we won’t understand, that most people in South Dakota don’t understand,” Braxton’s mom Toni Schafer said.

“Ultimately we wanted it to be his decision,” Braxton’s dad Derrick Schafer said. “Your choices are to cut your hair if you want to stay, or if you don’t want to cut your hair, we’re going to have to go, and he said he loves the school, he loves the kids, but he doesn’t want to cut his hair.”

Bishop O’Gorman Catholic Schools President Kyle Groos praises the freshman.

“We would love to have Braxton in our school, without a doubt,” Groos said. “He’s a great young man.”

But right now, O’Gorman High School’s dress code states that boys’ hair can’t touch their collar.

“That is what our dress code is at this moment,” Groos said. “Could that change? When we review it here in the spring of 2023 and into the fall there, it might. I don’t know at this moment. But that’s a part, it’s an important part of who we are.”

Groos says the issue is not the hairstyle.

“Locs and dreadlocks, the style is not the issue,” Groos said. “Length: it’s all it’s ever been.”

But Braxton’s mom says the length is integral to what her son’s hair means to him.

“In order to make a crown for strength, power, spirituality, it’s in the length and making yourself a crown,” Toni said.

Groos says a dress code offers many benefits.

“From our perspective and why people invest in our Catholic education, and what they’re seeking for is the structure and discipline that that provides,” Groos said. “It also then allows us to let our students focus on their faith, their service to others, their academics, and their own friendships.”

Braxton attended St. Mary’s Elementary School for sixth grade and O’Gorman Junior High for his seventh and eighth-grade years. O’Gorman Junior High’s uniform policy says hair has to be above a boy’s collar. Braxton’s family says his hair was the same length then as it is now, but they never heard any issue about it.

“People are looking at it as, it’s just hair; cut it,” Toni said. “They’re the ones that need to look in the mirror at themselves.”