On Monday, a little girl in Terrytown, Louisiana, was sent home in tears for wearing braids to class. Over the summer, her school, Christ The King Elementary School, banned hair extensions, clip-ins and weaves. This policy includes braids and twists – traditional black hairstyles that are installed using extensions.
The decision has caused a national uproar.
“[My sister Faith] has been attending this school for two years and wearing extensions,” Steven Evergeen Fennidy wrote in a Facebook post.
“Over the summer the school has sneakily added in a policy, that no extensions, clip-ins or weaves are allowed. Faith got a notice on the first day of class.”
Steven posted a video of his sister being kicked out of class and crying. Adults can be overheard reassuring the girl.
“I don’t want this to happen,” one adult says.
Towards the end of the video, Faith mentions that she wasn’t the only girl who was penalized for her hairstyle that day.
The school’s parent-student handbook simply says: “Boys and girls: only the student’s natural hair is permitted. Extensions, wigs, hair pieces of any kind are not allowed.”
Steven’s video went viral, resulting in a massive outcry against the clearly discriminatory policy. It’s hard to ignore the racial implications of the school’s new rule, which will primarily affect black girls – the only ones who routinely wear braids and twists to class.
Indeed, the policy is unfair on multiple levels. Low-maintenance braids can be a lifesaver for little girls, who should be able to learn, play and socialize without stressing over a hairdo. By banning this extremely common hairstyle, the school is literally making it more difficult for black children to go to school.
“Extensions make the hair easier to maintain. It allows my sister to have access to the swimming pool without having to get her hair rRe-done every night,” Steven wrote.
Moreover, black girls – like all children – need to feel confident, secure and safe in their school environment. Braids are a point of cultural pride for many families. They are unapologetically, delightfully black and beautiful. By banning these hairstyles, Christ The King Elementary is sending a clear message: Our school is not for girls like you.
There’s no other way to put it: Targeting a young black child for her hair, singling her out in front of her peers, and sending her out of class is racist. It’s traumatizing. And it’s not okay.
Faith’s family plans to meet with a lawyer today to file a discrimination lawsuit against the school, WWL reports.