Lifestyle & Belief

Utah judge tells mother to chop off daughter's ponytail


Amish teachings include strict rules on their followers' hair and beards.


Mark Wilson

A judge in Utah instructed a woman to cut off her daughter's ponytail, NewsCore reported. The daughter, 13-year-old Kaytlen Lopan, was referred to Judge Scott Johansen's juvenile court in March for her alleged involvement in a separate hair-cutting incident. Johansen told Kaytlen's mother that if she didn't remove her entire ponytail, that Kaytlen would receive an extra 150 hours in detention.

"I guess I should have went into the courtroom knowing my rights because I felt very intimidated," Lopan's mother, Valerie Bruno, told NewsCore. "An eye for an eye, that's not how you teach kids right from wrong."

More from GlobalPost: When the BRICs crumble

Local police say that in March, Kaytlen Lopan and another girl became friends with a 3-year-old girl at a McDonald's, and then cut off several inches of her hair, KSL reported. They do not explain the motive for the hair-cutting. However, Lopan and her friend admitted to the assaults in juvenile court, and Lopan also admitted to a separate attack, in which she called another teenager and left her threats over the phone. Lopan was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 276 hours of community service. 

While her mother, Bruno, agreed that her daughter needed to be punished, she was shocked when the judge ordered her to cut her daughter's hair in the courtroom in exchange for a lighter sentence. "I'll go get a pair of scissors and we'll whack that ponytail off," the judge can be heard saying in an audio recording

Bruno agreed to cut Lopan's hair because she felt intimidated, she said. After chopping off Lopan's locks, the victim's mother then spoke up and said that even more hair needed to be cut off. Bruno is now filing a complaint against the judge, KSL reported. 

Usually, law enforcement officials are the ones trying to stop the hair-cutting, rather than encouraging it. In November the FBI arrested 7 members of the Amish community for committing hair-cut attacks.