Bowled over

Principal Al Sanchez thought he was doing the student a favor. When Fidel Maldonado Jr.--a 15-year-old at Rio Grande High School and a boxer--showed up on campus with what Sanchez took to be a gang-style haircut, he gave the student a choice. Shave it off or face suspension. The offending cut, which Maldonado had donned prior to a boxing match, outlined New Mexico's area code "505" and the Zia symbol (the sunburst shape on the Land of Enchantment's flag) on his very own scalp. What happened next is up for discussion. Sanchez claimed they had a nice chat about his boyhood home while driving to the barber shop. Maldonado claims the principal grabbed his neck on the way over. In any case, the barber refused to cut the boy's hair, tapering the principal's plan and spiking Maldonado's father into action. He's considering legal action. And the principal? He's just looking for a bowl to hide under. Paternalism has its risks.

"Haircut could get principal in hot water," Associated Press, December 4, 2006

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