A 15-year-old cancer survivor in the US who was been disciplined by teachers for wearing a hat to cover hair loss is petitioning for changes to be made to her school's dress code.
Chloe Terpenning, a student at West Burlington High School in Iowa, told the Hawk Eye newspaper she had been taken out of lessons for wearing a knitted beanie designed for cancer patients.
Previously diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin's lymphoma, now in remission, the teenager started chemotherapy in March this year, after which her hair started to fall out.
She said that there has been multiple clashes with school officials, who continue to punish her for wearing headgear and covering her hair with hoods.
Current school policy states that hats, caps, hoods, sunglasses, hairnets and some headbands are all considered inappropriate, without exception.
While a spokesperson told the Hawk Eye on Monday (11 December) that decisions about headgear will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis in future, Terpenning and her family believe more needs to be done.
Only a week earlier, school principal Bruce Snodgrass made the student work from a separate office to other pupils – where she reportedly stayed for a week. Terpenning was told a bandanna could be worn until the Christmas holidays – but upon return only a wig would be accepted.
"In the office, it is a very small room and I don't get any lessons in there. I just get the assignments and am expected to have them done the next day. And the door's wide open," the 15-year-old told the newspaper. "So anyone who walks by can see me sitting in there."
In late November, Snodgrass reportedly told Terpenning to remove a hood that was covering her hair or be sent home – despite having previously been given permission to wear headgear.
"I get where the school's coming from. They've got policy in place, but there's got to be a grey area in there," Terpenning's mother, Candice Osslund, told the newspaper. The report said a meeting with the school and the family to discuss the situation is scheduled for Friday (16 December).
Meanwhile, a paper petition launched to urge the changes has gathered more than 200 signatures.