Mount Belvieu, TX -- The new school year is underway in Texas, but for one would-be student, his academic career is on hold-because of all things---the lack of a barber.
"He's just so smart he blows my mind," says Jessica Oates, the mother of 4-year-old Jabez Oats. "Full of energy and excited to learn."
The little boy loved his first day of school. And his second. But now he is home. No longer allowed in class because of the length of his hair.
"He's never had a haircut," his mom said. "It's just kinda part of his identity."
His mother Jessica learned of school hair policy at registration. She says she was told she'd need a letter citing a religious or cultural exception. Before she wrote one, she was told don't come back until your son's hair is cut.
"I don't believe that short hair should be required to get an education," she explains.
The school policy clearly states the conditions for boys above the eyes and ears and neck-she tried a bun. No good.
"So why not just cut his hair?," she says. "Because that's who he is. I don't believe in it. I will not cut his hair."
For its part, the district sent a statement which read, "Our local elected Board has established policy based on community expectations, and Barbers Hill administration will continue to implement the said policy."
Jessica says she wants to fight it.
"I feel like my son is owed the same education that all other children in this school district have."