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Pink Mohawk Won’t Keep Student From Track Meets

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Mike Barker (Facebook photo)

Mike Barker (Facebook photo)

IRON RIVER, Mich. (AP) – A northern Michigan high school student who wasn’t allowed to participate in a track meet because of his pink mohawk hairstyle will be allowed to compete in future events following an agreement between school officials and his family.

West Iron County High School student Mike Barker said he dyed his hair in support of his mother, a breast cancer survivor, and wasn’t allowed to compete last week. His family met Monday with West Iron County Schools officials, The Daily News of Iron Mountain and WLUC-TV reported.

“They told me to cut my hair before the track meet,” Barker told the newspaper after he wasn’t allowed to compete. “That it was excessive.”

Barker had been told by officials that his hair violated the Upper Peninsula school’s athletic policy prohibiting athletes from excessive hairstyles. In a joint statement, Barker’s family and school officials said a committee will review the athletic policy, and Barker may take part in that effort.

“Part of this policy review is going to be, `Where is the balance between individualism and being part of a team?”‘ said Superintendent Chris Thomson. “That’s a tough one, but we have to find an answer.”

According to the statement, Barker’s mother is in good health and has been cancer-free for more than five years.

School officials expressed their regret that Barker wasn’t allowed to participate in the track meet as a result of the interpretation of the athletic policy. After the agreement was announced, Barker said he is glad the issue is resolved and he plans to resume track practice.

Ahead of the team’s first meet of the season on Thursday, Barker said he was told he would have to change his hair. Barker kept the mohawk and was on a bus en route to the meet when he was told again he couldn’t participate. He left the bus along with some of his teammates.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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