SAN ANTONIO - The choice is this: Cut his hair or lose his job. A VIA Metropolitan Transit officer said that's the dilemma he faces.
However, he said he will fight all the way to the top if he has to in order to protect his newly found heritage.
Art Poore recently found out his ancestors were Apache Native Americans. So as part of his culture, he want to grow his hair and wants VIA to honor his beliefs.
"(I was) ready to find out who my ancestors were," Poore said.
Months of digging motivated Poore to get his DNA tested. The test revealed a heritage the family long suspected.
"I belong to the Apache nation," Poore said. "(I was) excited... ready for the rediscovery (and) ready to start learning the ways of the Apache."
He is also ready to let his hair grow to match his Native American ancestors.
"You allow it to grow from birth. Unfortunately, I did not have that opportunity so I'm allowing it to grow now," he said.
His excitement soon turned to grief. Poore is a VIA Metropolitan Transit Officer, and long hair goes against VIA's uniform and grooming policy.
"Your hair can't touch your collar, and right now the back of my hair does touch my collar," he said.
Poore plans on letting his hair grow but said his request to become an exception to the policy was denied. Still, he said he won't cut his hair and will stand up for what he believes.
"I realize everything I have here, everything that I have worked for, is probably going to be lost along with my job," Poore said.
VIA released the following statement:
"The matter regarding Mr. Poore is still under review. We continue to work through the process with Mr. Poore to resolve this matter."