I wake up to a full inbox daily, usually full of work emails, newsletters and spam. The usual. This morning however I woke up to an email from one of the students from Mystic Valley Regional Charter in Malden Massachusetts, Deonna, who wanted her story told.
Students at the Malden school who wear hair extensions* have faced daily detentions, got kicked out of teams and been banned from prom by the school administrators who say that the hairstyle could highlight economic diferences among students because of the cost of the style. However there have been suggestions that the policy only affects black students.
From the Boston Globe:
More than 40 percent of the school’s students are people of color, but state education data show Mystic Valley has just one black teacher on a staff of about 170. Those records also show that black students at Mystic Valley were more than twice as likely last year to be suspended for any infraction compared with white students.
The school’s desire to erase economic differences among students — to, in effect, create a level playing field — is reasonable, said Tomiko Brown-Nagin, a Harvard Law School professor who teaches education law and policy. But such policies, she said, can rub up against the equally reasonable imperative to be non-discriminatory.
I’m surprised that we are still getting stories like this coming out of schools where we hope that the minds of tomorrow are being shaped. Its was also shocking to hear that all black students were marched out of class for a hair inspection and each was asked if they were wearing hair extensions* even when they visibly weren’t. The obvious ignorance of this action is flooring in this day and age. It’s not a long jump from ignorance to racism.
17-year-old junior Jordan Towle-Jackson said she had encountered racial ignorance from some students and indifference from the school administrators.
“There have been racist comments, and when I went to the school’s director, he basically told me to go make a club to try and fix it,” she said.
Leaders of the state’s Anti-Defamation League, a non profit group that fights anti-semetism and other expressions of hate, had scheduled a phone conference on Friday with the school’s interim director, Alexander Dan, after the parents of the Cook twins asked for help. The director did not call at the alloted time and instead received a one line email with an attached statement that was released to parents.
Adminstrators said that their rules on appearance are consistently enforced even though in an interview one of the students said that they hadn’t been enforced until now. Part of the statement read:
They are designed to permit students to focus their attentions on academics and on those aspects of their personalities that are truly important.
The specific prohibition on hair extensions*, which are expensive and could serve as a differentiating factor between students from dissimilar socioeconomic backgrounds, is consistent with our desire to create such an educational environment, one that celebrates all that our students have in common and minimizes material differences and distractions.
A 17 year old junior said that the dress code was almost impossible to follow for black students because the school rules also prohibit hair that is more than 2 inches in thickness or height. A roundabout way of saying that natural black hair is not allowed…
Mya Cook, Deanna’s twin sister both 15 year old sophomores have refused to give up their extensions* and served multiple detentions as a result. She says that her hairstyle is not hurting anyone.
Why call me out instead of calling out these Caucasian girls who have dyed their hair and don’t get in trouble at all?” Cook said. “You have to stand up for what you believe in, that’s the only way things change.
When we look at braids in particular, while I will not deny that some braided styles can cost hundred of dollars, we know that in practice most of us don’t spend that much. Once the extensinos are purchased, usually for under $30 and depending on where the braids are installed, the true cost of the style is anywhere between $50-$100 but over the course of 2-3 month period when the braids are worn the true cost of the style is $17-$33 per month which is very much on par with any other hairstyle.
It angers me that 15 year old kids are having to deal with this kind of thing at school instead of thinking about their studies. I can understand the idea of wanting to create an even playing field amounts students but when those policies create a disparity based on race then it needs to be changed immediately.
What are your thoughts?
Nykky Gee says
Wow this f***in terrible
April Greene says
This is just plain ridicious
Elldwinia Brown says
Go on their page and go nuts I did
What’s the website?
LaGina Blanco says
Cairo Star says
F**king disgusting in this day and age. The school should be sued for discrimination
Letitia Blanco-Alcala says
Is this for real? (And if it is, someone needs a real talkin’ to!) Geesh! Just insane!
Kim Jay says
How is this even allowed to happen!!!!!
Orlondo Cottery says
White girls wear extensions to they just don’t look for because they assume that their hair is long anyway
Michelle Denise Phifer says
It seems like I am hearing more stories like this everyday. This sickens me.
I'kesha Ellis says
I have so much to say… That I’m at a loss for words!?! 1. Why is the school concerned about the $ a parent spends on their child’s hair??? 2. Where is the school coming up with these figures?!? Receipts?!? 3. Are they having shoe & backpack inspections inquiring about how much is spent on those items?!? What about wether or not their students have Mani/Pedis, wear make up and/or perfume and the costs of these items?!? 4. Are they inquiring if the non-black students have extensions and/or highlights and the cost of those?!? This is ridiculous!!!
Drea Nav says
Not surprised at all….they are an inferior ppl
Djenaba Hernton says
Lies!! That’s the dumbest excuse I’ve ever heard
Mireille Gates says
What?! Are we talking about braids?? Come on….
Trae Marshall says
Marquita Tineal says
So what if it’s not paid for…. and their mothers did the style themselves. How does cost come into play? This is just a form of control. This should be shut down.
Cecilia Jasper says
Are they going to start policinf the kids for wearing Mary Kay, Tiffany, and Michael Kirs as well? Then it MIGHT be fair.
Barbara Njira says
I need a white person to tell me what they are supposed to do with they hair
Famatta Dinkins says
Kizzie Muhammad says
That bulls**t it realy is that wrong
Shanée HairStyling Queen says
Cherlonda Jenkins says
That some bull crap definitely a law suit
Carole Preston Dean says
I was thinking how my granddaughter go to school with beautiful braid styles. ???? SMH
Jamila Baker says
It’s true… They interviewed the parents and children on HLN today … SMH
Naomi Aminah Ruby Rumble says
What kind of stupidness is this? – once again nonsensical school rules.
Amber Nijman says
Lisa Deul smh
Yvonne El says
I smell a CLASS ACTION coming! At least it damn sure should be!
John Shoulders says
John Shoulders says
This Type of s**t would make a hitta start treating them ppl????
John Shoulders says
Like they look for a bulls**t reason to pull it!!????
Jamila Baker says
Yes this is crazy
Chautara Franklin says
Please file a lawsuit
Serina Mckenzie says
Left them with them hair don’t start dictating what we can do with our hair
Shirley Vinson says
The school has no authority to dictate anybody’s finances. These are children that have looked forward to their prom and here comes Mr. or Mrs or Ms “I have a problem with you braids” telling the kids that they can’t go to their own prom. Are they tabulating the expenses of all the students. Are they aware that most don’t even pay to get their hair done. And even if they did pay a lot, that their business. The reason for the ban is steeped in discrimination. Trying to call it anything else is an insult.
Alan Stein says
Sorry to say I was born in Malden. But I lived all of my life elsewhere. Unreasonable people are everywhere.
CJ Wallace says
“Highlight economic differences”. The economic difference the students want to wear their natural natural. It’s a choice the school administrators don’t like because they don’t blend in.
See WhyIn Tea says
I guess they are following the trend with legally being able to ban locs
Mervet Dyer says
Is this real?
Ashley Johnson says
Jenni Onwuka says
I used to go there before it switched into a charter school. Wonders shall never end lol.
Tina Nelson says
Thing of it is I think theirs many blacks in this school. There’s not enough black representation so glad they stood their ground.
Carla Dwyer says
Heard the ACLU is filing suit on the kids’ behalf
Angel Mathews says
This is so very stupid!!!…hair really!!?? That’s why the education system is so messed up, focused on the wrong thing.
Char Louise says
Braids emphasis their ethnicity… If it was weave to help them look European there would be no conversation
Natasha Turner says
This s**t is so stupid…omg..white girls can wear braids its ok…but a soon as we do it..its a problem..smdh kick rocks
Crystal Riley says
Did it ever occur to the school that maybe their mothers are braiding their hair and not spending a dime and if they are it’s their money,