7-year-old Native American boy pulled out of class for haircut

ST. GEORGE, Utah -- The parents of an American Indian boy in southern Utah say he was pulled out of class for wearing a Mohawk haircut common among members of his family's tribe.

Gary Sanden told the Spectrum newspaper in St. George that administrators demanded an official letter from the New York-based Seneca National Tribe before they allowed the 7-year-old boy to go back to class.

Sanden says that he's not sure why he had to jump through so many hoops before the style was approved. A tribal councilor says that the Mohawk allows Seneca boys to share who they are after years of discrimination and oppression.

Assistant Superintendent Rex Wilkey calls the issue overblown. He says school administrators initially thought the hairstyle was distracting, but allowed him back to class once they confirmed it had cultural significance.