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Eyebrow markings become school headache

Image: Singer Soulja Boy
Singer Soulja Boy, seen in a November photo, sports eyebrows with vertically shave lines. Police officials say gang members have co-opted the fashion statement.Andrew Gombert / EPA
/ Source: The Associated Press

A Portland high school has raised eyebrows with its brow grooming policy: Shave 'em or go home.

Some students at Centennial High School have shaved vertical lines into their eyebrows in a trend recently made popular by hip-hop star Soulja Boy. School officials said the mark looks like a gang symbol.

Centennial administrators told students with the lines that they can't return to school until they shave off their eyebrows. Assistant Principal Mark Porterfield said the students were not suspended, but they were not allowed in school until they cooperated.

Four students have been sent home. One returned with a bandage covering the shaved brow.

Gangs have co-opted the trend for their own use, with one gang's members marking themselves by shaving one line into an eyebrow and three lines in the other to symbolize 13, police said.

"We don't dictate policy for any schools," Officer David Schmidt of the East Multnomah County Gang Enforcement Team said. "We just tell them what we see the latest trends are. This is a way for them to identify each other. In a school setting, it intimidates other kids."

Andy Gonzalez, a junior at Centennial with one vertical line shaved down his brow, was studying for a test when a security guard approached him and said, "If you're going to come to school like that, don't come at all."

Gonzalez, 17, said he isn't in a gang and shaved the lines to look cool and impress girls. But he said he'd be humiliated if he had to shave his brows off.

Centennial implemented the rules about the eyebrows after other area high schools did, but other schools said they only look for the markings of the 13 style.