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Student Protests Ban on Goatees

January 28, 1999

ASHTABULA, Ohio (AP) _ A student fighting his high school’s ban on goatees has asked the help of a bearded congressman, who says he’s prepared to extol such bearded notables as Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield and Santa Claus.

Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, said he was unwilling to take Edgewood High School student Byron Gunter’s side in the dispute at a school board meeting in February, but said: ``I think it can be a wonderful civics lesson to see if Byron can follow the procedures and change a policy that he doesn’t think is right.″

Gunter became upset when school officials ordered him to shave off the chin stubble he grew over Christmas break or face after-school detention.

The school allows only mustaches.

Gunter countered with a note signed by his mother, indicating she gave him permission to grow the goatee. He eventually shaved to avoid detention and e-mailed LaTourette for advice on challenging the policy.

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