An African-American mother in Mississippi accused her son’s school principal of taking away his expression of cultural identity after the principal reportedly cut his hair against his will.
Lattrice Averette’s 11-year-old son, T.J. White, is a student at North Jones Elementary School. It was just a normal day for him at school until the school’s principal called him in his office and reportedly removed portions of his locs that were on his face.
The mother shared the incident on Facebook.
“Still shocked that the principal of a school who is the leader for the rest of her staff felt she had enough authority to cut my son’s hair his locks his cultural identity. All because it was in his face which hair does when it’s long,” she wrote in the post.
She added after the principal cut his hair, T.J. was ordered to pick them up. He collected the locs and brought them home to his mother.
Averette was outraged at the incident and she ended up removing his son from the school.
“I was highly upset. I needed something to be done, and I wanted some justice for my son. He is autistic, suffers from ADHD and post-traumatic stress because of this school. I needed some help. Since that time, I have been to the police department. I have pressed charges with the justice court against the school’s principal as well as the school’s counselor. I have been to the superintendent’s office and I’m waiting for them to complete their investigation,” she said.
However, the school district’s superintendent denied the accusations.
Superintendent for the Jones County School District Tommy Parker said an investigation was opened into the incident but was concluded as there was no evidence to support Averette’s accusation.
“Based on what we found, we found absolutely no evidence that there is any proof what so ever that his allegations of having his hair cut at school exist,” he said.
He added there was no footage of the boy walking toward the principal’s office.
“I spent two hours watching minute by minute video today to see if there was an occasion that the student that's made the accusations against the school's principal was at or near the school office. In the time frame he said he was at the school office, there is no video evidence that he was at or near the school office at any time,” said Parker.
Spotlight, Banner: Reuters, Shannon Stapleton