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Coach entangled in inquiry after girl’s hair is cut

    Arlette Fontes holds her daughter’s ponytail that was cut off by wrestling coach Stan Haraguchi during a practice at Wai­akea High School in Hilo. Fontes’ daughter, Carla, hadn’t cut her hair since intermediate school, but her coach thought her locks interfered with her performance in the sport.

HILO » A friendly bet between a high school coach and a wrestler has led to a suspension and a police investigation.

Carla Fontes hadn’t cut her hair since intermediate school, but her coach at Wai­akea High School, Stan Hara­gu­chi, thought the locks flowing below her waist were interfering with the sport.

They bet if she lost a match, he would cut her hair. After a 3-0 start, Fontes lost her first match last week.

She allowed the coach to cut her hair at a team meeting Monday, even though Fontes’ mother had expressly forbidden it. Fontes said she didn’t relay that information to Hara­gu­chi.

The coach has been suspended, state Department of Education spokes­woman Dona­lyn Dela Cruz said.

Arlette Fontes was furious when her 15-year-old daughter came home with shoulder-length hair. "I’m shaking," the mother told Hawaii Tribune-Herald. "My daughter’s hair went all the way down her butt before. Now it looks like a rat has been nibbling on it. That’s a piece of her, gone. A piece of her body."

Carla Fontes said she loves wrestling and wants the sport to lead to a college scholarship. "It lets me take some of my anger out," she said of wrestling. She said she wishes that her hair wasn’t cut, "but it is what is."

Haraguchi declined to comment.

"In any educational situation, it is always best practice to receive parent consent before making any decision that directly affects a student, especially in a situation like this," Principal Kelcy Koga said in an email.

Arlette Fontes said she will pursue charges against Hara­gu­chi. Hawaii County police said the department started an investigation Tuesday.

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