Boys denied school enrollment because of long hair

Posted: Friday, January 26, 2001

DALLAS (AP) -- Two East Texas boys whose religious beliefs forbid hair-cutting until age 13 have been barred from attending a public school because their locks are too long.

Parents David and Korey Tuttle of Spring Hill said their religion, called Stregheria, is a form of Italian witchcraft which disallows haircutting until the boys reach 13.

At that point, Justin and David, now 8 and 10, can cut their hair as part of a belief that they put away childish pursuits and take on adult responsibilities. The boys have 4- and 5-inch long ponytails.

However, the policy at Spring Hill school district, to which they tried to transfer from Hallsville, forbids boys' hair from touching the collar.

The Tuttles could not prove their objection to the hair policy is based on a religious belief, because the oath is recorded in a secret family diary that cannot be shown to outsiders, Korey Tuttle said.

''Written proof does not exist in our religion,'' she said, adding that she has sent a letter about the school's policy to the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Korey Tuttle plans to home-school her two sons in the meantime.

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