After classmates made fun of teen's afro, IN teacher cut his hair without permission, mother says

Lawrence Central High School student Jonathan Battle-Hayum, who is on the autism spectrum, said he's been picked on before
LAWRENCE, Ind. -- An Indiana school district is caught in controversy after a teacher cut a student's hair without parental permission.

It happened after an alleged bullying incident near Indianapolis.

"You see my son's head? This is unacceptable. He's got bald spots. These are nicks," Nikki Battle told WTHR.

And what you see on the teen's head isn't from a trip to the wrong barber, his mother said.

"Now it's going to take two to three months for it to grow back, at least," she added.

Battle said the haircut was the work of a teacher at Lawrence Central High School, who cut her 17-year-old son Jonathan Battle-Hayum's hair Tuesday.

"He cut my child's eyebrows and facial hair, and it looks bad," she said.

Battle said Battle-Hayum was in the process of growing his hair out, so he could have it braided next month.

"It was an afro. It was a big 'ole beautiful afro. His hair was fine. There was nothing wrong with his hair," she said.

But Battle-Hayum said recently some students were making fun of him for it.

It's not the first time the varsity wrestler said he's been picked on at school.

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"It's kind of horrible," he said.

The teen is on the autism spectrum and said he's sometimes the target of bullying.

"Yeah, I'm used to it," he said.

And that's just what his mom said happened Tuesday, when a student shoved Battle-Hayum at school.

"He tried to walk away, and that's when the kid pushed him, and he grabbed him in self-defense, so the school told me to come up there and pick him up," Battle said.

When she did, she discovered a teacher had cut his hair.

"I feel disrespected. I feel left out that you did something without consulting a parent. That's not your kid," Battle said.

Battle said she's not surprised her son didn't tell the teacher no.

"I was like ok; he was gonna fix me up," Battle-Hayum said.

The school district issued a statement saying they took the allegations seriously and investigated immediately.

The district said the teacher involved was acting with the best of intentions and just trying to help the teen out.

"He said he was trying to do a good deed, but, you know, that's not a good deed to me," Battle said.

Now the teen doesn't want to go back to school, and, instead, finish his senior year virtually. But his mother is trying to convince him it's going to be OK.

"You don't have to feel bad. It's OK. You did nothing wrong," she told him.