School that sent home 7-year-old girl for ‘dreadlocks’ is reversing policy

By David Ferguson
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 16:09 EDT
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Tiana Parker via screencap
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The Tulsa, OK charter school that sent home 7-year-old Tiana Parker last week for having the wrong hairstyle has adopted a more inclusive dress code in the wake of the incident. According to Tulsa’s Channel 6 News, officials at the Deborah Brown Community School voted to change the code on Monday night after receiving negative publicity for its decision to send the little girl home.

The previous policy banned “faddish” hairstyles, listing afros and dreadlocks as unacceptable. Now the school has broadened guidelines, but still says hairstyles that violate “hygiene” standards will still be considered inappropriate for school. The policy now reads:

“Each student and the parents/guardians of the student are responsible for the personal hygiene of the student. The Administration reserves the right to contact the parents/guardians regarding any personal hygiene issues that it believes causes a risk to the health, safety and welfare of the student, his or her classmates, and faculty or staff or detracts from the educational environment.”

Tiana Parker’s parents withdrew their daughter from the school after the child came home crying last week, saying that school officials told her that her new braids, accented with a bright red bow, were inappropriate for school and “distracting.”

The hairstyle, said Deborah Brown Community School officials to KOKI, “could distract from the respectful and serious atmosphere [the school] strives for.”

Rather than fight the school’s decision, Tiana’s parents have enrolled her in a new school. Deborah Brown is sponsored by Langston University and university president Kent Smith said in a statement, “The action taken today by the board of the Deborah Brown Charter School to amend the policy which resulted in the unfortunate disciplining of a young lady for the style of her hair is commendable. I appreciate the quick action. The amended policy reflects the respect we have at Langston University for our students and their individuality.”

Watch video about this story, embedded below via NewsOn6.com:

NewsOn6.com – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – KOTV.com |

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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