For wearing their hair in braids, two teenagers were threatened with suspension at their charter school. Similar incidents show that strict dress codes can punish students for their racial identity.
…According to Colleen Cook, administrators at Mystic Valley have routinely reprimanded black students for dress code violations involving hair.
Other black girls have been pulled out of class, she says, lined up, asked if they had hair extensions and given detention if they did.
Colleen remembers when one student, who wore her hair in its natural texture, was taken out of class and told that she would need to relax, or chemically straighten, her hair before returning to school the next day.
In defense of their daughters, the Cooks brought in a yearbook to show school leaders the many white female students with hair extensions and dyed hair.
But, the Cooks say, the administration didn’t see that those students were in violation of the dress code, stating those hair alterations weren’t as obvious.
…”I feel like the school is pushing us to raise them as white children, but that’s not who they are or who they’re going to be.”
Criminalizing being black starts at an early age. I hope the Cooks sue the school into stone age. If the school system insists on disrupting the education of young people who happen to be black, then in all fairness everyone else’s education needs to be disrupted as well.