Fox Lake police officer Russ Zander is sporting a new haircut these days -- a "Bulldog" red mohawk.
More than 200 Grant Community High School students in the lunchroom watched as the school's community officer had his head shaved and styled Friday.
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The nine-year police veteran requested the mohawk cut as part of a pledge drive to raise awareness among students about the dangers of texting while driving.
Zander started the effort two weeks ago by asking Grant students to sign a pledge to not text while driving. He told them if he got more than 700 to sign, he would shave his head. He got 850 student signatures.
Before first period on a small stage, with a backdrop of posters and a giant cardboard smartphone cutout, stylist Kaitlyn Vinyard took only 10 minutes to shave Zander's hair and apply bright red dye.
"I have cut many mohawk styles before but never dyed one red," said Vinyard, who used clippers with no guard to shave Zander's head.
The second-year school community officer plans to make the pledge and mohawk cut an annual event at the Fox Lake school.
"I want to inform incoming freshman and new drivers each year," he said.
As the red dye was applied, a few dozen students gathered closer and encouraged Zander with giggles and low-volume chants. Zander got a short round of applause when he stood up to show off the red mohawk and wave the packet of pledges.
"You gave me the signatures and I gave you the 'Bulldog' red mohawk," he told students, referring to the school mascot name.
While some students said many of their peers signed the pledge just to force Zander to cut his hair, others said they will think about changing their behavior behind the wheel.
"The pledges and shaving this morning encourages us to think before texting while driving," sophomore Matthew Mateski of Round Lake Beach said.
Zander said he will keep the red mohawk for one week, then shave it off.
"I normally shave my head all year but grow it out for a few months for the annual mohawk cut," he said. "Now I can go back to saving money on shampoo."
One difference this year is the cold weather, he said.
"Going outside now without a hat on, is going to be a challenge," he added.