A young girl has switched schools after she was told that she would not be allowed to sport her hairstyle of choice.
According to 7-year-old Tiana Parker and father Terrence Parker, Deborah Brown Community School in Tulsa, Oklahoma gave Tiana a hard time and sent her home for sporting dreadlocks. School officials told Terrence that her hairstyle did not look “presentable,” according to local outlet KOKI-TV.
“She’s always presentable. I take pride in my kids looking nice,” Terrence, who is a barber, to the outlet.
However, the school felt that Tiana’s hairstyle could “distract from the respectful and serious atmosphere it strives for,” according to KOKI-TV. A representative of the school told The Huffington Post over e-mail that, “The parent of the student in question elected to choose a forbidden hairstyle which is detailed in the school policy. The parent was asked to change the hairstyle, however on Friday, August 30th, the parent choose to dis-enroll her child from our program.”
Indeed, the charter school’s dress code specifically says “hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros, mohawks, and other faddish styles are unacceptable.”
Commentors have been speaking out against the policy on the school’s Facebook page, as some accuse it of being racist. A post from the school yesterday –- which is unrelated to the incident –- has amassed over 275 comments related to Tiana.
“They can have a weave. ie, white people hair styles. Meaning, your child must go through painful and expensive hair alterations….rather than natural options…like an afro or dreads. Disgusting,” wrote commentor Rosemary Michelle Malign.
This is not the first time a school has come under fire for banning certain hairstyles. In June an Ohio school received criticism for banning students from wearing “afro-puffs and small twisted braids.” Amid a public outcry, however, the school ultimately apologized and revoked the policy.
This post has been updated to include a statement from Deborah Brown Community School.