It seems like each week there’s an institution enforcing policies that don’t so much as teach diversity among peers, as it teaches intolerance among students and faculty.
Recently, after two Black teenage students repeatedly wore braids to school, they were written up and given detentions. Now the twin sisters, Deanna and Mya, who attend the Mystic Valley Regional Charter school outside of Boston, face suspension.
“They teach them at a very high academic level and I appreciate that, and that’s why they go to the school,” she said. “But, unfortunately, they don’t have any sensitivity to diversity at all.”
The Globe also noted that Cook wasn’t the only parent with Black or brown daughters being targeted. Many parents stepped forward and complained that their daughters — who were often either Black or biracial — were being harshly disciplined for wearing braids with extensions to school.
Mystic Valley caters to a largely minority student populace yet its dress and grooming policies restrict hair extensions of all kinds. According to the school, this is in an effort to “foster a culture that emphasizes education rather than style, fashion or materialism. Our policy on hair extensions, which tend to be very expensive, is consistent with, and a part of, the educational environment that we believe is so important to our students’ success,” as noted by the NY Daily News.
It was also noted that the administration didn't support "unnatural hair colors or styles." However, when the two sisters wore their relaxed hairstyle to school, there was no peep from faculty.
“When we read that part of the policy, we felt it unjustly impacted our daughters and unjustly impacted the population of colored people going to that school,” said the father of the two sophomore students, Aaron Cook to the NY Daily News. “You don’t often see Caucasian females wearing extensions.”
One of the most unsettling details about the bias was how the school handled students breaking the guidelines. “There are kids who are being rounded up and marched downstairs for daily hair inspections and the girls don’t really understand why they are treating them this way,” the father said. This is also typically done in front of other students. Meaning for the many pupils unaffected by this dress code proviso, they’re receiving a lesson in oppression.
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