This is absolutely infuriating.— Shaun King (@shaunking) August 15, 2018
This sharp young Black boy, clean as ever, gets kicked out of school because he has dreads.
His father rightfully struggles to maintain his emotions at the disappointment of it all. pic.twitter.com/WOpUGLqg8l
A Florida 6-year-old was barred from starting first grade at a private Christian school because of his dreadlocks.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, A Book’s Christian Academy demanded that the young boy get a haircut before he would be permitted to attend school.
While the boy’s father, Clinton Stanley Sr. said his son is being racially discriminated against, the school insisted that it has had a short hair policy since 1971 and maintained it is a standard Christian school rule.
“I respect their rules, but it’s not right,” said the boy’s father. “Allow kids to come as they are. You are a Christian school.
“In the Bible it says, come as you are,” he added. “You deny a kid an education on his hair?”
Stanley recorded video footage of his son, who was properly dressed in full uniform, being turned away when they showed up at the campus for his first day of school.
He originally shared the clip on Facebook, and it quickly went viral and garnered thousands of reactions, according to the Orlando Sentinel. While many people agreed with Stanley, others echoed the school’s excuse that hair rules are common in private religious institutions.
If this is a private intitution and he is on scholarship They can pretty much do whatever they want . I hope he and his parents learned if it does not kill you it makes you stronger— Miz Val (@vrb1955) August 15, 2018
And yes, I’m aware it’s a private school, but if the teachers aren’t following the rules, it teaches the wrong message. Teachers should teach empathy and compassion, especially at a “Christian” school. As a teacher, I’m beyond disturbed.— Kirk Patrick Miller (@Chaos2Cured) August 15, 2018
Well, it's a private school and any I've encountered in past had strict rules regarding hair and dress code. Didn't enroll my son in one many years ago because he wanted to keep his shoulder length hair and refused to wear a uniform. So not a racial situation.— Vicky Gallas (@vlgallas) August 15, 2018
Stanley said that when he initially chose the school for his son, he wasn’t aware of the hair rules and he wasn’t informed of them prior to the day he arrived on campus with his son. Someone online shared a link to the school’s handbook on his post which includes the short hair rule.
Basically no black hair. The fact that they made their racism in to policy doesn’t make it less racist.— solitude weeks (@SolitudeWeeks) August 15, 2018
Although he is now aware that the rule has been established, he still argued that it is unfair. He said he thinks that if the school’s message is that “all kids are created in the image of God” then all should be welcome regardless of their hairstyle.
The frustrated father also claimed that the school equates dreadlocks with something worn by “hoodlums,” which is an insult to black people who make up the majority of those who wear dreadlocks.
“You’re disassociating yourself of people of color,” Stanley said.
Sue Book, the school’s administrator, rejected Stanley’s accusation as 95 percent of her students are black, which suggests that other black parents don’t have an issue with the rules and continue to enroll their children.
Ultimately, Stanley and his wife decided to move their son to the local public school, Lovell Elementary School, where they accept his dreadlocks.
I just spoke to this father. He has enrolled his son in a local public school that welcomed him with open arms.— Shaun King (@shaunking) August 15, 2018
What's wild, is the school has pictures of white Jesus with....LONG HAIR below his ears. https://t.co/8J0Uccy20W
Here's Day #2 of the first day of school for this young king.— Shaun King (@shaunking) August 15, 2018
Thankfully a new school welcomed him, his style, and all of his hair - with open arms. pic.twitter.com/ryOYnTlMYQ
Stanley should have familiarized himself with all of the school's rules before choosing it for his son to avoid this humiliating experience for the child. However, he has a very valid point that no matter how longstanding the policy is, it's still unfair and seems to go against the Christian values the school claims to uphold.
A hairstyle should not determine whether a child can receive an education — private school or otherwise. Furthermore, as activist and journalist Shaun King pointed out, the school has pictures hanging up of Jesus with long hair. If Jesus could have long hair, why can't children who are all supposedly created in God's image?
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Getty Images, Patrik Giardino