A new academic year is underway, but some Black students have encountered old rules that deny them an education because of their hairstyle.
The family of an 11-year-old girl in Terrytown, Louisiana, planned to meet Tuesday with a lawyer to discuss a possible discrimination lawsuit after the sixth grader’s school kicked her out for wearing hair extensions, which violated new dress codes, the New Orleans Times Picayune reported.
Faith Fennidy’s older brother posted the video below on Facebook, and it shows his sister in tears on Monday when she was told to leave Christ the King Elementary School. The archdiocese disputed the family’s claim that it failed to inform them about the rule change and planned to stand firm about the policy.
This came one week after a Florida private Christian school turned away a six-year-old boy on Aug. 13 for wearing dredlocks in violation of its short hair standard, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
“I respect their rules, but it’s not right. Allow kids to come as they are. You are a Christian school. In the Bible it says, come as you are. You deny a kid an education on his hair?” said the boy’s father, Clinton Stanley Sr., according to the newspaper.
Schools have long shut their doors on students who wear locs. In 2013, a Tulsa, Oklahoma school told the parents of seven-year-old Tiana Parker that her hair did not look “presentable.” They chose to find another school.
Other natural hair styles have also been a target. An Orlando private school gave the family of 12-year-old Vanessa Van Dyke an ultimatum back in 2014: either change your hair or leave Faith Christian Academy.
Some schools have even rejected headwraps. That was the case in 2016 when Durham, North Carolina teens wore geles which featured African kente prints, as a symbol of pride during Black History Month. An administrator ordered them to remove the wraps. They complied—reluctantly—but their parents protested the rules.
Students have also been dismissed for wearing braids. Brittany Anderson’s 12-year-old son Nasir was sent home from his Arizona school for sporting two long braids running from his forehead to the nape of his neck.
A Fresno, California school told a 14-year-old boy to fix his haircut because the lines that were cut into his fade were distracting.