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Dye job is Fox Lake cop’s reward

Fox Lake Police School Resource Officer Russell Zander has his head shaved mohawk dyed red by Shear Madness owner WandOwen

Fox Lake Police School Resource Officer Russell Zander has his head shaved in a mohawk and dyed red by Shear Madness owner Wanda Owen of McHenry at Grant High School in Fox Lake. Officer Zander hosted a Pledge Not to Text and Drive campaign and shaved his head if he received 500 pledges. He collected over 750 pledges from students and staff. | Thomas Delany Jr.~ Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 23, 2013 2:29AM

FOX LAKE — Hair stylist Wanda Owen is a little shy and was not prepared for the sheer madness of the Grant High School cafeteria earlier this week when school resource officer Russell Zander got a Mohawk haircut dyed Bulldog red after collecting more than 800 student and faculty pledges to not text and drive.

“I’m a very shy person and at first we were going to do it near the doors, then they wanted to put him on the stage. It was a little nerve- racking,” said Owen.

“It was really packed with students and teachers,” said Owen, a close friend of Zander who is opening a Shear Madness hair salon in Lakemoor on March 1 with her husband, Jeremy. She draws a lot of customers from Fox Lake because she has worked there for more than 10 years, deciding to open her own shop at 28944 Route 120.

“When I started shaving his head, they started screaming, ‘Yeah!’ and then when I took out the dye, they just went crazy,” she said.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Destiny Talamantes, 15, of Fox Lake. “I didn’t think he was going to dye his hair red.”

Andrew Carrasco, 14, of Round Lake Beach, who took the pledge, was surprised how packed the cafeteria was.

“It was pretty cool and he was pretty happy,” said Carrasco. When asked if he would honor his pledge he quickly responded, “Yes I would.”

Zander was actually looking forward to the Mohawk haircut because he has been clean-shaven since he got out of the Army in 1998. “For the last 20 years I’ve had a flat top,” he said.

He had to grow out his hair in order to get a Mohawk, which actually makes him the fifth person in the school with a Mohawk, but the only adult. “It felt like forever,” Zander said.

“We had an awesome turnout, we must have had half the school,” he said, estimating there were over 400 students in the cafeteria. This was his way of saying “thank you” to the students for pledging to drive safe. They topped 800 pledges and some are still coming in from parents who got pledges from their children.

He will shave off the Mohawk this Sunday after he participates in the annual Fox Lake Polar Bear Plunge. “The superintendent (Christine Sefcik) said she would sign the pledge if I agreed to join in the Polar Plunge,” he said with a laugh.

Mary Madro, 46, of Plainfield, has been working in the cafeteria for eight years and she couldn’t believe how many students showed up. Usually, the cafeteria is used like a homeroom before the first class starts and it’s never that crowded.

“This was a good way to show the teens that (texting and driving) is not worth it,” she said, “It was awesome.”

“If it takes an officer to do that, then good,” she said. “I’d do it,” Madro said, before back tracking and saying, “I’ll do the red, but I wouldn’t shave.”

Patti Wright also works in the cafeteria.

“He brought all the kids together for a terrific cause,” she said, “Look at all the kids that came in. We’ve never had an officer participate with the kids like this. It was awesome.”

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