If you ask five year old Jalyn Broussard about his new haircut he will tell you how much he loved it. He wanted something different from his older brother and he knew his class mates would love his hair too.
Unfortunately as cute as he might look, his Catholic School was not having it. They called his fade a ‘distraction’ and asked his mother to pick him up 30 minutes after the school day had begun.
At first glance at the article it reminded me of all the various times we reported about children being kicked out of school due to ‘distracting’ hair styles.
Styles that for us in the black community are pretty normal. I mean we been doing fades since 1980 so what’s the big deal?
According to Mercurynews.com:
Mariana Broussard said the school’s principal told her Jalyn’s haircut was too distracting and a violation of Immaculate Heart of Mary School’s hairstyle policy, according to a complaint the family filed last week with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
Broussard said Principal Teri Grosey told her the haircut — which the family noticed on white and Asian students — would “unduly influence the student body.”
Broussard was incredulous. The hair on top of Jalyn’s head was less than half an inch longer than his tapered, closely cropped sides. “How is he going to be an undue influence,” she asked, “my little kindergartner?”
After weeks of unproductive talks with Immaculate Heart, the family last week filed the complaint, alleging that the school discriminated against Jalyn, who is African-American, based on his race.
Grosey did not respond to a reporter’s phone calls. The Archdiocese of San Francisco refused to comment because it has not seen the complaint, spokesman Larry Kamer said. But he added, “School policy on hairstyles is very explicit and clear. Parents acknowledge and accept that policy.”
At this point stories like this are becoming so common place that we have to fight but at the same time seek alternatives for our children. Jalyn and his brother are now going to a school that their parents decribe as more “culturally aware”.
He can now wear all the modern haircuts he wants, in his words —“I think it looks good on me,”— Yes baby, it sure does!