A Texas mother is slamming her son’s elementary school after she was instructed to cut off her 6-year-old son’s dreadlocks before he returned from winter break.
Tiffany Brown’s son, Jonathan, was sent given a flier by officials at Spring Valley Elementary School in Hewitt, Texas. On the sheet, the Independent School District’s dress code and hair were highlighted in yellow. According to the letter, “hair must not be lower than the bottom of the ears or collar in the back.”
Also on the flier was a handwritten note that read, “please cut by Jan. 8th."
When Brown saw the note, she knew she wasn’t going to cut Jonathan’s hair and instead decided to stand up to the “racist & gendered” policies.
“I signed up for a great education, for my children,” Brown tweeted. “I won’t conform to racist policies.”
According to Yahoo Lifestyle, Brown did not receive any prior warnings about Jonathan’s hair. The mother also criticized the school for attacking her son’s dreadlocks, a popular protective style for many Black people with natural hair.
“Children of color have been targeted for many years because of what others see as the norms in our society,” she told Yahoo. “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. Dreadlocks are part of my African culture, not a fashion statement.
“Dreadlocks have been a symbol of beauty and strength for many years,” Brown added. “My son’s hair is a part of him. Hair grows from the scalp; this is a part of his body. How can parents teach kids to love themselves and then a school is telling them differently? The school is saying you’re not enough! My son is not enough for them. Now, they’re asking him to alter his body, because they don’t like it.”
When Jonathan returned to school on Jan. 8, his dreadlocks were still intact. He was subsequently called to the principal’s office.
“He was told that they wanted to speak with him about his Christmas break,” Brown said. “However, they proceeded to speak with him about his hair!”
Brown was furious about the meeting and said that any future “meeting with an adult speaking about his hair being an issue without my presence will not be tolerated.”
“My plans are to go as far as needed to ensure the rights and liberties of every child are respected and protected,” she added. “Not only for children of color, but for every child,” she told Yahoo.
In a statement sent to Yahoo Lifestyle, school district officials defended the policy, which they said is not racially motivated.
“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. Even when the policy has incrementally evolved through revisions over time, the length of male students’ hair has been a subject of periodic debate over several decades. In other words, 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. However, any parent may submit documentation to the campus administration requesting a possible exemption to the dress and grooming standards,” the statement continued.