LAWRENCE (WISH) — Emotions are swirling for Nikki Battle and her 17-year-old son Jonathan Battle.
“I’m hurting,” Nikki Battle said. “As a parent, as a person, as a human being, I am hurting for him. Because when he was so upset that he started crying in the car, I was done.”
Nikki Battle says one of her son’s teachers at Lawrence Central High School cut his hair without her permission. She says her son received the unwanted haircut on Tuesday.
“It feels horrible,” Jonathan Battle told News 8.
Jonathan Battle, who is on the wrestling team, says he had been growing his hair out for months because he wanted a new style.
“Braids, yeah, braids,” he said. “Good braids.”
Nikki Battle told News 8 her son lives with autism and sometimes students pick on him at school. which is what she says happened this week.
She says the school called her to come get him. That’s when she noticed his haircut.
“Jonathan said that the gym teacher cut his hair? I’m like, why did you cut his hair? I’m asking (Jonathan Battle) this, he said, ‘He wanted me to look fresh.’ I’m like, no one consulted with me first. You just violated my son’s First Amendment right,” Nikki Battle said.
Battle says the teacher cut her son’s eyebrows and shaved his face.
The school district sent News 8 a statement that says, “The MSD of Lawrence Township and Lawrence Central High School take the allegations made extremely seriously and immediately investigated upon notification. It is not uncommon for school personnel to go above and beyond to meet the needs of students outside of the classroom. The staff member in question acted with the best of intentions to support the student.”
But that’s not how the family sees it.
“You cut my son’s crown,” Nikki Battle said. “You cut my king’s crown. That wasn’t your right to do that. I am mortified with this whole situation because you had no right. You didn’t talk to me about this. You had no permission. You had no right. How dare you?”
“I want my son to know that it’s not his fault,” she added. “You did nothing wrong. I love you very very much. You should always keep your head up, no matter what.”
The Battles say Jonathan doesn’t want to go back to school and prefers to finish his senior year online instead.