You would think that in 2017, educators would understand the diversity in hairstyles when it comes to people of color.
Without dwelling on texture and haircare differences that allot for more complex hairstyles beyond up, down and in french braids— two Black students at a school just outside of Boston could face suspension for their box braids.
Fifteen-year-old twins, Deanna and Mya Cook were served multiple detentions and were threatened with suspension from Mystic Valley Regional Charter School because their hair violates school dress code.
As reported by The Boston Globe, the school’s student handbook states that hair extensions are prohibited, as are hair coloring, makeup, nail polish, and tattoos. The girls’ mother, Colleen Cook said she understands a policy that bans nail polish and hair color, rules that would affect children equally but not hair.
“They teach them at a very high academic level and I appreciate that, and that’s why they go to the school,” Cook said. “But, unfortunately, they don’t have any sensitivity to diversity at all.”
The girls have been forced to sit in detention an hour before school starts and nearly an hour after. And they’ve been kicked out of after-school sports and banned from the prom. Cook who adopted the girls, in addition to their three other siblings, says that administrators have targeted students of color.
“They marched Black and biracial children down the hall” to inspect their hair, she said.
The NAACP and the state’s Anti-Defamation League have been called in to assist in the matter, but for the time being the girls and other students are facing a tough time in school.
“[Their hair] gives them pride,” Cook contends. “They want to partake in their culture.”