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Haircut for student may get principal in trouble

The principal of Rio Grande High School cin New Mexico ould be in trouble for taking one of his students to a barber shop without permission of the pupil's parents.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The principal of Rio Grande High School could be in trouble for taking one of his students to a barber shop without permission of the pupil's parents.

Al Sanchez could face disciplinary action, Albuquerque public school district officials said.

"Students should not be taken off of campus by any staff member without parental permission," said Rigo Chavez, district spokesman.

Sanchez said he thought Fidel Maldonado Jr.'s hair style -- the number "505" and a Zia symbol shaved into the back of his head -- was a gang haircut.

Sanchez said he thought he was doing Maldonado, 15, a favor by taking him to a barber instead of suspending him.

"I said, 'Do you want to just go to the barber and cut it off?' He said, 'Yeah.' I said, 'Let's go,'" Sanchez said.

Fidel Maldonado Sr. said the law was broken when the principal took his son off campus. He said he is considering legal action.

"For him to take my son and take him out of school without my consent, against his own will, is wrong," Maldonado Sr. said.

Maldonado Jr., a boxer since age 7, said he had a barber shave the New Mexico area code into the back of his head before a boxing match, which was scheduled Saturday.

An assistant principal noticed Maldonado Jr.'s haircut Thursday and took him to the campus police and then to the principal.

"Mr. Sanchez said, 'You're going to go with me or you're going to get suspended,'" Maldonado Jr. said, adding he was not allowed to call his parents.

He also said that once he was inside Sanchez's truck, the principal grabbed his neck. Sanchez denied the allegation.,

"This was crazy," Sanchez said. "We had a good conversation. ... I showed him where I grew up. We were talking."

Sanchez said Maldonado Jr. told him his father was working and could not be reached, so he offered to take the boy to the teen's barber so he would not miss school.

"I was just trying to do a nice thing, take him there and bring him back," Sanchez said.

Jake Maestas, the barber, said he refused to cut the teenager's hair Thursday without parental permission and told the boy to call his father.

Maldonado Sr. said the call from the hair salon was the first he received form his son that day.