The parents of African-American twin girls are pushing back against what they say is a racist policy at their daughters’ charter school.
On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts filed a complaint with the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education against Malden’s Mystic Valley Regional Charter School, alleging that its hairstyle rule is discriminatory, CBS News reports.
Deanna and Mya Scott, the 15-year-old siblings, refused to comply with a ban on hair extensions. Consequently, school administrators punished them, including prohibiting the teens from participating in school events.
Deanna told CBS that the policy is racist: “What they’re saying is we can’t wear extensions, and the people who wear extensions are Black people. They wear them as braids to protect their hair and they’re not allowing us to do that.”
Their adoptive parents, Colleen and Aaron Cook, agree that the extensions policy targets Black students.
“I’m angry, I feel like my children are beautiful, they’re Black, they should be proud of themselves,” Colleen Cook told the news outlet. “I’m very proud of them.”
In its defense, the school said its hair extensions ban seeks to prevent “fashion or materialism” from harming the culture of education at the school.
According to CBS, some parents said White students have been disciplined for coloring their hair.
Still, some civil rights experts say the extensions policy crosses a line. The outlet said the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice sent a letter to the school warning that the policy fails to comply with federal anti-discrimination rules.
SOURCE: CBS News