School that barred 7-year-old's dreadlocks changes dress-code policy
Jasmin Aline Persch,
Facing backlash, the elementary school in Tulsa, Okla., that barred 7-year-old Tiana Parker from wearing her hair in dreadlocks has changed its dress-code policy.
Brown Community School administrators and school board members met on
Monday night, and the school board voted to nix the mention of specific
hairstyles in the policy.
According to local Tulsa media outlet NewsOn6.com,
the charter school's policy now states, "The Administration reserves
the right to contact the parents/guardians regarding any personal
hygiene issues that it believes causes a risk to the health, safety and
welfare of the student, his or her classmates, and faculty or staff or
detracts from the educational environment."
Tiana ended up changing schools this year
rather than her hairdo, and her family plans to keep her enrolled in
her new school despite the policy shift. Tiana's family released this
statement in response to Monday night's decision:
"We are of
course happy for future students and families at Deborah Brown Community
School. However, that does not change the fact that our 7-year-old
daughter, Tiana, was made to feel that there was something wrong with
her appearance, in turn coming home in tears. Even now, we have not been
contacted by any of the administrators at Deborah Brown Community
School nor has an apology been made to our daughter."
statement continues, "Regarding next steps, our focus is on Tiana and
all of the ‘Tiana's' in the world who have ever been made to feel this
way. This is now much bigger than Tiana, and we know that the
conversation cannot end here."
University, the Deborah Brown Community School's sponsor, was not
involved in the drafting of the old policy but released a statement on
Monday saying that its president, Kent Smith, "supports the change in
the policy because it reflects an important value at Langston University
to respect the individuality of students." After Tiana switched
schools, Smith discussed the policy with the school's superintendent,
Terrance Parker told TODAY.com that the school
informed him two weeks ago that his daughter's hair violated its policy.
Parker said he requested leniency and noted that Tiana's teachers had
complimented her on her hair just last year. He said Tiana had asked her
parents for the dreadlocks.
"My daughter Tiana is very unique,"
said Parker, 27. "She's a loner. She wears (country) boots all the time.
If she finds something she likes, I don't want anybody to tear her
down. Whether you like it or not, I always taught my kids to be who they
want to be."
The Deborah Brown Community School referred TODAY.com to its attorney, who has not responded to interview requests.
described his daughter as a good girl — a straight-A student who likes
math and loves the country and fishing with her grandparents. Getting
rid of her dreadlocks would mean cutting her hair, which was upsetting
"She told her mom, ‘I don't want to cut my hair,'"
Parker said. "I got her into the school because the education was good. I
want the best for my kids."
Tiana attended her new school in
Tulsa, Anderson Elementary, all last week. She told TODAY.com that she's
enjoying the new school, which accepts her hairstyle. She also said she
was sad that "they didn't like my dreads" at her old school, but she's
Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:35 PM EDT2014-07-30 03:35:24 GMT
City Council members heard from people on both sides of the proposed sound ordinance Tuesday. Some citizens and business owners want some things clarified in the new ordinance while others are asking for the entertainment district to be expanded.More
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