The Horizon Science Academy in Lorain, Ohio issued a new dress code this month. In the letter — obtained by the blog Black Girl Long Hair — a lot of the things not permitted make sense: No sagging pants, no hats or caps, no frayed or ripped uniforms. But no afro-puffs?
Obviously a dress code can be a good thing, encouraging students to focus on studies. The school lays out its reason for the dress code, stating it "helps students resist peer pressure to buy trendy clothes" as well as diminishes "economic and social barriers between students." And much of what's banned — tattoos, fake glasses, face piercings — make total sense. But Afro-puffs are specifically listed, and it just seems strange. How would they keep you from concentrating? As BGLH writes:
The dress code restrictions highlight an age-old struggle that [black people with natural hair] face from both within and outside of the black community. Our hair is viewed as radical, funky or unruly in its natural state, and restrictions are sometimes placed on us in academic and professional settings that do not extend to our non-black counterparts.
Adults have to contend with the fact that in a business setting, relaxed hair is seen as "more professional." But why should kids have to worry that their natural hair — the way it grows out of their heads — isn't acceptable for school?
UPDATE: The school has issued an apology.