Author Tiffany Brown called the hair policy at Spring Valley Elementary School in Hewitt, Texas “racist & gendered, after she was instructed to cut her 6-year-old son, Jonathan’s, dreadlocks.
According to Yahoo Lifestyle, Jonathan was sent home with a note that highlighted the hair portion of the school district’s dress code policies. The letter stated, “hair much not be lower than the bottom of the ears or collar in the back.” Along with the policy “please cut by Jan. 8th,” was written on the page.
“What I didn’t sign up for was RACISM!” Brown tweeted. “I signed up for a great education, for my children. I won’t conform to racist policies #notmyhair.”
— RogerBrownBooks (@books_roger) January 5, 2019
The Texas mom told the site that the school never spoke to her about Jonathan’s hair. This incident added to her belief that hair regulations target Black students.
“Children of color have been targeted for many years, because of what others see as the norms in our society,” Brown said. “Because of these norms that are blinding people in our society, some people have stated that dreadlocks are a fashion statement and my child should conform and express himself when he’s older.”
Brown is adamant on allowing her son the right to keep his locs.
She continued, “Dreadlocks have been a symbol of beauty and strength for many years… Our hair is our glory!
“Only recently, people of color/African descent have come to accept and love their natural hair. To hear someone say it’s not enough or that my hair should blend with others, that’s not right.”
Jonathan returned to school on Tuesday with his dreadlocks and was allegedly discouraged when he was sent to the principal’s office.
“My son Jonathan went from loving his hair yesterday to opting to cut his hair today, after this meeting,” she said. “Yesterday, he loved his hair and didn’t want it cut; today he’s frustrated and doesn’t, after speaking with a school official.”
Officials from the school district said the hair policy is not racially motivated or biased in any way.
“Midway ISD has implemented dress and grooming standards for decades. The policy is established to teach grooming and hygiene, prevent disruption and minimize safety hazards,” a spokesperson told Yahoo.
“Male students wanting to have long hair is not new. Nevertheless, what IS new is a social media claim this past weekend that Midway’s hair code is racially discriminatory. Since the code applies to all students, it is not discriminatory in intent or by legal standards. Students are expected to adhere to the current dress code, which was acknowledged by every student’s guardian at registration.”
Brown plans to take action against what she believes are discriminatory practices. In August 2018, several reports made headline as children with dreadlocks were sent home from school.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.