Does 11-Year-Old’s Hairdo Look Gang-Related to You? School Officials Thought So — and One Took Care of It Himself

Danny Valdes (Image source: WBBH-TV)

11-year-old Danny Valdes was about to get a treat that a young man remembers for the rest of his life.

Watching his favorite basketball team play an NBA game, in person, for the very first time.

And not just any squad — we’re talking LeBron James and the world-champion Miami Heat.

To mark the special occasion on the final Sunday before the end of winter break, Valdes’ stepdad Arnaldo Fernandez — who owns Cutting Edge Barbershop — carefully crafted the Miami Heat logo, as well as the city’s area code and skyline, into Danny’s hair before the game.

Image source: WBBH-TV
Image source: WBBH-TV
Image source: WBBH-TV
Danny Valdes (right) at the Heat game with his new hairdo (Image source: Facebook) 

When vacation ended last Wednesday, Valdes returned to Harns Marsh Middle School in Lehigh Acres, Fla. proudly displaying his new haircut.

But Danny’s new look didn’t sit well with the school about two-and-a-half hours northwest of Miami. Officials there said Valdes’ haircut was too distracting and gang-related, reported WBBH-TV in Fort Meyers; the station added that the school district has a dress code noting that disruptive hair colors or styles can be prohibited by the principal.

The assistant principal gave Valdes an in-school suspension over his new ‘do and called his stepdad.

“I told her when he gets home from school I’ll cut his hair and I’ll make it toward their regulations,” Fernandez told WBBH.

Arnaldo Fernandez, Danny’s stepdad (Image source: WBBH-TV)

But when Danny came home that day, his hair already looked a lot different.

Turns out a school counselor got hold of clippers and shaved away the offending designs so that Valdes could go back to class, adding that his stepdad authorized it.

But Fernandez told WBBH hee never gave the school permission to cut Valdes’ hair: “It’s frustrating because to me it seems like they think they got the power to do whatever they want.”

Danny agreed to the cut because he didn’t want to miss class, but was upset his unique hairdo was gone.

“I was pretty disappointed. It was a cool haircut and it was ruined,” he told WBBH. “I wanted to get my hair like that to show how proud I am of my Heat.”

Stephanie Fernandez, Danny’s mom, said she was upset because it didn’t seem within the school’s rights to cut her son’s hair.

Stephanie Fernandez (Image source: WBBH-TV)

It’s not. While the school district indicated an employee should never cut a student’s hair, the counselor who shaved Danny’s ‘do won’t lose his job over the incident.

But the school’s lost Danny: Stephanie Fernandez was so upset by the way Harns Marsh handled the situation, she’s having him switch schools.

The district released this statement to the media Friday: “While the school counselor followed the wishes of the student and instructions of the student’s stepfather that were provided over the phone in the presence of several witnesses, the district acknowledges the action taken by personnel were not appropriate.”