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A Georgia elementary school is receiving backlash for targeting Black children’s hair in its dress code policy.
Administrators at Narvie Harris Elementary School in DeKalb County posted pictures of Black children with various haircuts, along with labels that deemed the hair either “appropriate” or “inappropriate,” in accordance with its dress code policy. The “inappropriate” hair had designs or colorful beadings in it.
🧐🤔🤔Wowzers....so that’s how y’all feel Dekalb County Schools?...Hair is a form of self-expression, shouldn’t be a right...Posted by Danay Helena on Thursday, August 1, 2019
Twitter user @rogerskalan asked educators to comment their thoughts on the posters.
“This was posted in an elementary school… Is this appropriate for schools to post?” @rogerskalan asked.
The majority of people responded to the question by calling the administrators’ decision to scrutinize Black children’s hair inappropriate–and even racist.
“Just when I thought we were done policing Black children’s hairstyles, this popped up on my timeline. Can any administrator help me understand the need for this type of policy? This is a predominately black public school with all black admin,” one responded.
Just when I thought we were done policing black children’s hairstyles, this popped up on my timeline.— Naomi Jessup (@mathedmatters) August 1, 2019
Can any administrator help me understand the need for this type of policy?
This is a predominately black public school with all black admin. #dotheyseeme#wheredowebelong pic.twitter.com/wnfgDptYqg
No. This is racist.— Kaitlin Popielarz (@KaitPopielarz) August 2, 2019
This is WRONG. It's racist. And demanding conformity, compliance, and ASSIMILATION.— Kit 🏳️🌈 (@MrKitMath) August 2, 2019
Facebook is going crazy right now. Babies can’t get designs in their head or wear hairbows anymore smh pic.twitter.com/xrgGcHgGk1— hypothogical liar (@LeciJ_) August 2, 2019
The DeKalb County School District responded to the controversy by distancing itself from the school’s enforcement of its dress code policy, according to Blavity.
“This was a miscommunication at the school level and is being handled by school leadership. Nontraditional schools at (the DeKalb County School District) sometimes have the option to enforce dress code and style standards,” officials wrote in a statement, given to Blavity.
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Tiffanie Drayton is a geek culture and lifestyle reporter whose work covers everything from gender and race to anime and Xbox. Her work has appeared in Complex, Salon, Marie Claire, Playboy, and elsewhere.