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Two Black Sisters Punished For Wearing Braids At School

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BY SUSAN JOHNES

During the time of our grandparents, they were denied chances to conduct several things in the society that they lived. For instance, they were prevented from wearing braids to school and even keeping long unkempt hair.

It’s 2017, and black students are still getting in trouble for wearing black hairstyles.

Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden, Massachusetts have exposed their students to detention and suspension for wearing box braids, which the institution alleges it is against their school policy.

Three parents have come forward to undermine the school policy which they believe as unfair targets for black students.

For instance, Colleen Cook was furious after her 15-year-old twin daughters Deanna and Mya reportedly faced suspension after multiple detentions because of their hair.

Other students, including 15-year-old Lauren Kayondo, have reportedly been suspended for refusing to remove their box braids. On May 11, school officials responded to complaints about the policy.

“One important reason for our students’ success is that we purposefully promote equity by focusing on what unites them and reducing visible gaps between those of different means. We have policies including those governing student appearance and attire, which fosters a culture that emphasizes education rather than style, fashion, or materialism. Our policy on hair extensions, which tend to be expensive, is consistent with the educational environment that we believe is crucial to our students’ success.”

The school maintains that the box braid ban is to ensure equality amongst all students. However, the policy against hair extensions disproportionately affects black students, who reportedly make up 17 percent of the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School’s student body.

In the meantime, Deanna’s and Mya Cook’s their parents have advised them serve no longer the detentions they’ve received as punishment. “Having them attend additional detention does not help impact change with the school anymore,” father, Aaron Cook.

He added that they felt that the issue needed to be dealt with between the parents and the school, and continuing to pile on further punitive detentions didn’t help matters.

It isn’t the first time that black students have been targeted and punished for wearing traditionally black hairstyles. We have heard numerous stories in recent years about students, particularly black girls, facing detention and suspension for wearing braids and afros to school.

We’ve seen the outrageous hair bans in the past. Therefore, we aren’t surprised by such a story. However, I am disappointed for criticizing Black women, especially young girls, about their hair or “banning” hairstyles that are unique to the Black culture. That equates Black hair as being “bad” or “not right.”

Read the original story here.

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1 Comment

  1. Sherley Gaie

    Sherley Gaie

    May 20, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    State of Massachusetts has told the charter school to remove braids from their hair grooming policy.

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