If you've gone through a school system of any kind, you've probably gotten sent to the principal's office at one point or another. Maybe it was for something serious, like fighting with a classmate, maybe it was just to pass along a message from your parents — either way, hearing your name across the school's PA system usually sent a quiver of fear through your body. Well, one young eighth-grader was sent for a reason that borders on being both absurd and discriminatory: for wearing her hair in its natural state. Kaysie Quansah, the aunt of the student mentioned above, wrote on Facebook that the principal of Amesbury Middle School in Toronto deemed her niece's loose, natural hair "too poofy," reports The Huffington Post. (The young girl usually wears it in crochet braids, according to her aunt). Her niece, whose name she prefers to keep out of the media, was given a ponytail holder and repeatedly told to "do something about her hair." When the 13-year-old challenged the principal's request, asking why students with "good hair" weren't told to do the same, she was reduced to tears and eventually told that if she continued to come to school with her hair in that state, she would be forced to stay in the office until something was done about it.
This is a trend we've seen happen to a number of kids recently — including a Texas cheerleader who was kicked off of her team a couple weeks ago for refusing to straighten her hair. And it's especially damaging to girls of color, girls who are often told their natural beauty isn't good enough when held up to societal beauty standards. "My heart is breaking for my niece and all the little girls like her who already know that there is an unspoken ideal for 'good hair,' who already know that the darker your skin, the more undesirable you are [led] to feel, that people will automatically write you off because of the way you look," Quansah writes in her Facebook post. The principal should've been more concerned with the young girl's education, rather than her looks, she continues. Curls — be they tightly coiled and "poofy," or loose and wavy, whether they grow out toward the sky or lay down on your shoulders — aren't something to be tamed or "pulled back." And they're certainly not "unprofessional." Ever. They're beautiful in their god-given state and it's a disgrace that kids are being discouraged of this fact at such a young, impressionable age. This eighth-grader and the aforementioned Texas cheerleader are very fortunate to have intelligent, loving women, like their aunt and mother, respectively, in their corners. We just wish more individuals realized the importance of self-love.