*CALLING ALL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL GIRLS WEARING PIGTAILS. We’ve got news for you, baby…
You may be facing suspension.
“But Miss,” you cry, “I make all A’s and B’s and I’m a good girl.” I know sweetie. But that doesn’t matter. It’s your hairstyle. The part in the middle– the one going all the way down from the front of your head to the top of your neck–it’s excessively long.
Sounds ridiculous right?
It is. But after you hear the justification from one Alabama school district official, who nearly suspended a young male student because the part in his hair is considered “excessively long,” can a sweeping dismissal of all little girls wearing pigtails be far behind…if we are talking about ‘being fair’ that is.
Dr. Fred Primm, the superintendant at Bessemer City Schools defends the actions of his staff who threatened to suspend seven-year-old Rashaad Hunter of Birmingham, Alabama because of his hairstyle: a low-cut, neat little ‘fro with a part that is said to “go against school regulations.”
Primm explained (before even seeing Hunter’s hair cut) that defining an “acceptable hairstyle in black and white in the school handbook” is tough, with it is usually handled on a case by case basis.
Hunter, who is an honor student, was hurt and confused, to say the least.
“He was like upset, and he said I had to come get him out of school because he was being suspended,” Rashaad’s mother, Keisha Rembert told WBRC. “He was walking with his head down, when I saw him he was teary-eyed at first because he doesn’t want to be suspended for no part in his head. I told him, ‘Don’t hold your head down…continue to make these A’s and B’s because that part is nothing.”
Rembert continued, “He was pulled out of class, saying that he had a design in his head but it really wasn’t a design, it was a part. They need to notate or clarify what is a design? Spongebob, a part, a tennis shoe, whatever.”
After being shown a picture of the little boy’s hair cut, school superintendant Primm responded, “We allow small parts, but not excessively long parts that are done as designs. That part in that young man’s hair would be considered a design.”
Clearly, this is a demonstration that these so-called school officials have their priorities mixed up. Instead of focusing on what they are teaching, and how students are learning, they’re focusing on the length of a part in their hair.
Now let me say this IN DEFENSE of these folks…in how this whole thing may have started. Probably with teens and gangs. School officials were probably attempting to be cautious because of the different ‘signs’ or ‘code’ gang members may have.
I can understand that.
But you also must have … here I go with my favorite word: DISCERNMENT. You must know when to say when. A hairstyle worn on an at-risk teen is one thing. One worn on a cute little boy is another.
This school official claims this is done on a case by case basis; with this little boy being the case they chose to suspend only makes them look stupid.
And what do you think such a threat is teaching this young honor student. I would venture to guess his thoughts are closely aligned with those of the little girl I introduced at the top of the article.
Thank goodness good sense intervened, and young Rashaad was not suspended after all.
But still, I am sure that the incident has left an indelible mark on his young mind.