The principal of Perth Amboy Catholic school in New Jersey has apologized to a 10-year-old student after telling her to “tuck in her hair,” the girl’s mother, Damaris Isales, told the Patch.
The principle, Michael Szpyhulsky, told the girl to change her hairstyle as he readied a group of students for morning prayer. He then told the girl to “tuck in her hair” in front of the entire group, and his comment deeply upset the young girl, who said she later ran to the bathroom crying.
The private school has a dress and appearance code that they describe on the school’s website."Extreme hair styles such as spikes, Mohawks, shaved heads/scalp designs, gel hairdos, long or straggly hair (i.e. covering the eyebrows), coloring or highlighting, excessive hair ornaments, extensions, hairpieces, or male facial hair, are never permitted.”
But Isales said her daughter’s hairstyle is not an extreme fashion statement. "This is her natural hair. She is not trying to be fashionable. She just has curly, puffy hair," said Isales. "Trust me, it already takes me long enough to do her hair every day. If I were to do something like straighten it, that would take two hours."
The young girl told her mother that she was being bullid about her hair at school, with some students telling her that it looks like “a beehive.” Isales is most upset at the fact that Szpyhulskyhandled the situation so poorly, and so publicly. “He sould have spoken to her privately, that day, not in front of the whole class,” she explained.
Szpyhulsky has since apologized at the urging of both the girl’s mother, and the school. Isales seems ready to accept the apology, saying, "I think he was speaking from the heart. I just want to move on now."
Hopefully the little girl knows that there are plenty out there who #SupportthePuff, and that her natural hair is no cause for shame.
Perhaps the school could take a lesson or two from the United States Marine Corps. Watch BET News recap the Corps' breaking of their ban on twists and locks after complaints from Black soldiers, below:
(Photo: Damaris Isales)