NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - A dress code controversy has been sparked by a hairstyle.
Logan Rentz says his hair is how he identifies with his culture and being asked to cut it makes him feel like he’s being targeted.
"When he actually said it, I didn’t feel like I was part of the program. I felt like I was left out. I felt like I was put down," said Rentz, a freshman at Spruce Creek High School.
Soon after Rentz joined Junior ROTC at Spruce Creek High School, he was told he had to cut his dreadlocks to wear the uniform. He said no. He learned he could still participate but not in uniform, and without the uniform, there are several activities he can’t do.
"I missed out on parades. Tomorrow we have one. I can’t go because he wants me to cut my hair to get a uniform," says Rentz.
"He was able to bond in the classroom, make friends with the other cadets in there, and then it was kind of snatched away from him," says Logan’s mother, Keshia Rentz.
His mother says he was instead assigned 900-word essays. Soon after that, she hired an attorney.
"It just didn’t seem right to me. It didn’t seem fair," she says.
"It’s part of my culture, and it's my heritage. It’s being violated," says Logan Rentz.
According to the JROTC Cadet Command regulations, "males are not authorized to wear braids, cornrows, or dreadlocks while in uniform."
But Keshia and her attorney say that rule is not consistently enforced and Logan is being singled out.
"We have photographs of other young men in Central Florida who have the same hairstyle that Logan has, and they’re in uniform," says Katie Kelly, a lawyer with Community Legal Services of Middle Florida.
They’ve filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Education and plan to request a military investigation and file a civil rights complaint.
"I’m not going to give up. I’m going to keep going."
U.S. Cadet Command told FOX 35 News they had sent a statement Friday, but it had not been received by the time this article was published.
Volusia County Schools say they are investigating and will continue communicating with the parties involved.
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