A Texas School District is making headlines after refusing to change grooming policies that affect Black students.
Thanks to Barbers Hill Independent School District’s ridiculous rules regarding hair length, two students with locs were suspended and according to reports, the school board voted — unanimously — to keep the policy in place this week.
“The students — cousins Kaden Bradford and De’Andre Arnold — wear their hair in long dreadlocks. But Barbers Hill Independent School District, just east of Houston, forbids male students from keeping their hair at a length ‘below the top of a t-shirt collar, below the eyebrows, or below the ear lobes,’ according to the district’s Student Handbook,” NPR reports.
An attorney representing Bradford said the school board missed its opportunity to be inclusive.
“Especially in this moment, coming so soon after George Floyd’s death, and the largest protests in our nation’s history, so many different institutions right now are examining systemic racism and implicit bias, and looking within themselves. This was an opportunity for the school board to revise and change its policies so that it could be inclusive and affirming of all students, regardless of sex and race,” attorney Brian Klosterboer said, according to NPR.
The district did not respond to a request for comment, the site goes on to say, but an attorney representing the district said the decision “had nothing to do with race, but was rather about maintaining a standard of excellence in Barbers Hill schools. That standard entails keeping one’s hair short.”
Klosterboer takes issue with the school district’s argument, as do we. What does hair length have to do with excellence?
“Anyone who’s met Kaden and De’Andre, these students, knows how incredibly excellent they are,” Klosterboer reportedly responded. “They have now sacrificed being away from their friends — being isolated at school — to stand up for their constitutional rights, and to stand up for their heritage, their family and their culture and for what they believe. And that is excellent.”
The site adds Arnold used to comply with the dress code by keeping his hair up, but “in 2019 the school board made the code more stringent, his attorneys said, requiring that students’ hair meet the district’s length requirement even if not worn let down. That would have required Arnold to cut his dreadlocks — in the process, destroying them, attorney Christina Beeler told the board.”
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