On Monday, May 15, with a little more than a week left in the school year, Dalon Thorn was excited to sport his new hairstyle at Calvary Baptist School. But after the seventh grader arrived rocking his cornrows, he did not get the reaction he expected from the adults at his school.
After his mom Ashley Thorn arrived to take him home from school that day, she said “I picked him up, just like normal, and asked, ‘How was your day? How did your friends like your braids?”
Ashley continued, “We’re driving out of the parking lot, and he said the principal pulled him aside today and asked if his braids represented being a gangster.”
Ashley and her husband Damon Thorn were shocked by the principal’s words, especially, as braids do not even constitute a violation of school policy.
“An acceptable well-groomed haircut is required of all male students,” reads the manual, and actually goes into more specific detail with the following directives, “hair will not reach shoulder length nor will bangs be long enough to cover eyes. Rat-tail and Mohawk-type haircuts are not acceptable. Dreadlocks and afros over 3″ are not acceptable. Man buns and sculpting are not acceptable. Colored hair, feathers, and extreme styles are not allowed.”
The next day, Dalon’s parents called the school and met with Angelyn Mesman, the school’s principal.
They recorded their 16-minute conversation, and you can allegedly hear the principal confirming that she did have the conversation in question with Dalon. Per the audio recording, the principal did try to assert that “she pulled him aside from the other students in an effort not to embarrass him.”
Mesman reportedly stated, “I’ve never had a student wear their braids like that. I’ve had teachers personally come to me and ask about his hair and what I thought about it.”
The principal purportedly also said she was concerned after watching boys grow up and embark upon “questionable paths,” stating “I have seen children grow up in this school and I’ve seen them change, so I was just checking to see where we are. I just wanted to see his heart. Our culture is changing. Little boys used to have regular little haircuts.”
The principal even added that the growing influence of hip hop culture is negatively impacting today’s youth, “I’m seeing a lot of young people listening to a lot of rappers pushing for drugs and doing things opposite of Christ.”
This occurred after the state of Louisiana passed the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act (the CROWN Act or the Act) in 2022, which went into effect as of August 1 of last year. The Act protects “natural, protective, or cultural hairstyle,” which includes the following “afros, dreadlocks, twists, locs, braids, cornrow braids, Bantu knots, curls, and hair styled to protect hair texture or for cultural significance,” but is not limited to the aforementioned styles.
Since Calvary Baptist School is a private, Christian school, Dalon is not covered by the law. Ashley and Damon have not yet decided whether they will file a lawsuit. But, they have made the decision to transfer the rising 8th grader “to a different school in the fall.”