BURTON, Mich., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A 17-year-old leukemia survivor was suspended from his Michigan high school over his hair, which he says he is growing out for charity.
J.T. Gaskins decided to grow out his hair to donate to Locks of Love after learning that the sister of a family friend had cancer, The Detroit News reported.
However, administrators at Madison Academy in Burton ruled Monday that Gaskins' long hair violates school policy and suspended him.
The charter school's policy requires boys' hair to be "clean, neat, free of unnatural or distracting colors, off the collar, off the ears and out of the eyes."
"I fought cancer my entire life. I'm going to keep fighting this," Gaskins said. "I'm not going to not give back just because my school says no."
The teenager's mother, Christa Plante, said she supports her son's effort "100 percent."
Plante has created an online petition on Change.org asking the school to amend its hair policy for boys to allow them to grow it for charitable purposes.
"He's seen how [charity] works and how it helped people, how it helped us," she said. "This is for him. He wants to do it now. This feels right."
Gaskins and Plante say they plan to attend the school board's meeting on Feb. 27 if the issue isn't resolved by then.
"I'm fighting for them to make it an option for kids to grow out their hair for Locks of Love, to make it a part of the school and raise awareness for all cancer charities out there that can help patients," Gaskins said. "It wouldn't be a change to where people find a loophole just to grow out their hair."