According to Tiana, the school didn’t like her “dreds.” The school defends its decision to insist that Tiana change her hair style due to their published parent-student handbook which dictates that hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros and other faddish styles are unacceptable. The handbook goes on to state that girls’ weaved hair should be no longer than shoulder length and boys’ hair must be short and neatly trimmed – all for safety reasons. Beyond hair requirements, the school’s web site asserts that uniforms are required as a part of the strict dress code which is strongly enforced by school administrators. The school insists that their rules about hair and uniforms encourage respect and seriousness in the school.
The girl’s father said that school administrators told him that his daughter did not look presentable, and he strongly disagreed by saying that his daughter is always presentable – and he takes pride in his children looking nice. Parker – who, incidentally, is a barber – said that his daughter wore the same hairstyle last year and there wasn’t a problem. School officials, however, beg to differ by citing last year’s school yearbook photo of Tiana in which she didn’t have dreads.
The school’s representative said that the mother of the girl disenrolled her child from the school and the girl is now attending a school where her hairstyle is considered acceptable. As could be expected, the school’s hair policy is being called racist.
This wasn’t the first time the school and parents have clashed over hairstyles, according to the report. Last school year, a 5-year-old was suspended when he walked into a Springfield, Ohio school wearing a short Mohawk. In Utah, a 15-year-old student was told that her auburn-dyed hair was too “edgy” for the Utah middle school she attended.
The Deborah Brown Community School serves some-200 kindergarteners through fifth graders, 99 percent of whom are African-American.