West Iron County track athlete Michael Barker's pink Mohawk became the talk of the town last week, even the talk of the UP. Last week, Barker was asked to leave the track school bus heading to a meet after his pink Mohawk came into question in being a violation of the athletic code. Barker told TV6 that at that time, he decided to quit the team altogether. On the TV6 website alone, the story received over 250 comments and over 1,700 Facebook shares.
â??Itâ??s unfortunate that the attention this has gotten over the past four to five days has reached the level it has reached until we could sit down with the parents and resolve the issue,â?? said West Iron County Superintendent, Chris Thomson.
But since then, the school, student, and his parents have met and discussed the issues, and reached a resolution.
â??Part of us moving on is the family and West Iron County Schools have had the opportunity this afternoon, this morning, to issue a joint statement putting out there what is factual,â?? Thomson said.
The facts, as superintendent Thomson explained, were issued in the statement:
-The mother, Wendy Pawlicki, has stated she does not have cancer. She stated she is in good health. She stated she had breast cancer over five years ago and has been cancer free since then.
-The student athlete has been and will continue to be a member of the track team.
-The District expressed regret that the student was not allowed to participate in one track meet as a result of the interpretation of the current athletic policy. The student will be allowed to continue to participate in track.
-The District will appoint a committee comprised of representatives of the community, students, coaches, and Board of Education to review the current High School Athletic Policy. The student involved was asked to be a member of this committee. The committee will report their recommendations to the Board of Education.
Michael declined an on-camera interview but he and his family said theyâ??re glad the issue is being resolved, and Michael said heâ??s looking forward to resuming track practice. He said he's also interested in being on the review committee; a decision the school said they'd encourage.
â??Part of this policy review is going to be, where is the balance between individualism and being part of a team. Thatâ??s a tough one, but we have to find an answer,â?? Thomson said.
Itâ??s an answer to a difficult question, to be sure, but it's one the school is hoping will bring the balance of what is in the best interest of the team and the needs of the individual student.