An 8-year old in Biloxi, Mississippi, was sent to school earlier this week in a particular gray T-shirt but returned home in a different shirt thanks to her elementary school principal.
Sharika Jolly, mother of 8-year old Makiyah-Jae, recalls a time when her daughter suffered from low-self esteem.
"Before she wanted her hair straightened and colored blonde," said Jolly. "I'm like, 'No, baby. That's not you. This is who you are. You don't have to be like anyone else but yourself.'"
That's when Jolly decided to loc Makiyah's hair and purchase her a Black Girls Rock T-shirt from the empowerment organization run my Beverly Bond.
Having worn the shirt to school numerous times, Jolly didn't hesitate to allow Makiyah to wear it again — however this week her daughter wouldn't make it the whole day with it on.
Confused, Sharika Jolly called the principal to investigate the sudden change of clothes.
"When I asked him what was the reason for him taking the shirt off of her, he said, 'You're right. It's not in the policy. Nowhere in the policy does it state that the shirt is out of dress code,'" said Jolly. "He said they made a judgment call, then I proceeded to ask, well who are the judges judging my 8-year-old? And he said, 'Well, I'm the principal so I made the call.'"
A few days later, the school's superintendent, Arthur McMillan, called to apologize for the matter admitting to Jolly that they may have "overreached."
"We make many decisions every day. Sometimes with decisions we make even as parents, we go back and look and think I wish I'd made that decision different. I think that's the situation here," said McMillan. "If he could make that decision again, he'd probably say, 'Hey, you know that's not a big deal,' but you're always guarding against how do we not offend anybody."
Jolly accepted the school's apology but cautions that she is concerned about other students who may have been discriminated against and their parents who may not have spoken up.
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(Photo: WLOX News)
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