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NEWS: Principal Forces Fifth Grader to Remove Cornrow Braids

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posted on May, 19 2005 @ 08:57 AM
An elementary school principal in Massachusetts demanded that a 10-year old boy remove his cornrow braids after the student arrived at school Monday with a hairstyle modelled after his favorite baseball player. The student's parents demanded an apology from the principal but the principal has refused to give one.
The parents of a fifth-grade boy in Massachusetts are demanding an apology after a school principal forced the youngster to remove his cornrow braids.

The boy arrived at school Monday sporting a hairstyle modeled on that of his favorite Red Sox player, pitcher Bronson Arroyo.

The principal demanded that the 10-year-old go to the bathroom immediately and remove his braids, saying it would disrupt classmates as they prepared to take a standardized test.

The boy's parents said the school has no written policy banning specific hairstyles.

They said they'll take the matter to court unless the principal admits her mistake.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

So the principal made a brash decision to force the child to undo his hairstyle. These things happen - maybe it was an infringement on some of the student's personal freedoms, maybe it wasn't, however, I think that the principal is making the wrong decision to withhold an apology.

There is perhaps another angle here as the cornrow hairstyle is typically considered an ethnically black hairstyle. Was the school being racist here?

Would a student be asked to cut dreadlocks at this school? It is against the traditional beliefs of Rastafarians to cut dreadlocks or anything else on their bodies. What about an afro, is there a limit to afro size?

DeMoura said since Pomerleau, a principal for seven years, didn't feel she did anything to apologize for, adding that the school does have a dress code.

"We do have a statement [in the code book] that bizarre clothing that is disruptive to the learning environment is not permitted."

However, the handbook does not address hair styles.

Related News Links:

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 09:03 AM
The principal should apologize to the school, the student and the parents for making such a dumb call in her part.

The Parents seem to have a good head on thier all they want is an apology...good on them. Many parents in this case would sue for money and all this other crap to make up for the "emotional"
damage caused...BS

Good on the parents...shame on the school

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 09:10 AM
Thats bull-crap, Do I really tell you whats going on? His a white boy he cant have braids.
Stupid teacher

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 09:32 AM
That happened here in Michigan was a little white girl with cornrows. They sent her home too and told her to change it. My 8 year old daughter said thats racial..they cant do that! I agree its wrong. My children are biracial....does that mean they can wear any style they want, or does it depend on whether they look more like a particular race?

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 09:36 AM
it had nothing to with racism... they "school" thought it would be a distraction during a crucial point in the shcool year, testing.

thats all.

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 09:41 AM
sorry my fault in assuming that there is at least one child of a different ethnicity in the school with cornrows. Although not sure why it is more distracting than pigtails, or a french braid, or long wild hair, or crazy curly hair.

To me it still smells of an administration not wanting the children to adopt something that is usually associated with a different ethnicity or culture.
My previous sentence was actually beating around the bush...basically I think that they do not want the children in the school to look or act "black".

[edit on 19-5-2005 by frogs453]

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 09:45 AM

they "school" thought it would be a distraction during a crucial point in the shcool year, testing.

If the girl was having the cornrows put in during class, then yeah I would agree....but how is a hair style distracting in school?...maybe to a racist biggot it would be.

That's why im simple....just shave it all distractions

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 09:48 AM
When I was in jr. high school(I think Hitler was in bootcamp) It was not
uncommon for students to be sent home for innumerable dress code
violations. Hair too long?(I had a crew cut...hated it) You were sent home.
Dress too short? Sent home. I remember this one kid Carl....He had to
shave when he was 14. One day the teach sent him home for not shaving.
Nowadays the attire is androgynous at best. Can't really tell the gender
until you see the face.......

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 09:50 AM
That couldn't possibly be the only child in the whole school with cornrows... Could it?

Looking at the pictures, that's about 1% of the entire city of Houston's hairstyle. Not that radical. The teacher didn't flip out because a kid had cornrows on test day, there's got to be another reason here.


posted on May, 19 2005 @ 09:54 AM

Nowadays the attire is androgynous at best

I agree, but the school did not have a rule or guidline stating that cornrows are not authorized.

and yes people these days (im only in my early 20's) sorry to sound like an old wear tacky outragious clothes....but that's all freedom of choice. If the school does not state otherwise, it's fair game...within reason of course, no booties hangin out and tits popping out.

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 10:00 AM

from the last article
"My main concern is that I don't want Zach to feel like he did something wrong," said the mother of four.

Zach wanted to know why girls at school can wear braids and why some boys have parts of their scalp shaved with numbers.

Yeah, I'd say scalps shaved with numbers is a little more distracting than cornrows, although not that much more. Who pays attention to hairstyles for more than a few seconds? (EDIT Oh yeah, administrators, that's who.)

What's more distracting - a kid with cornrolls - or the spectacle that ensues when an administrator makes such a fuss about it?

Murray cited a 1971 case that went to the First Circuit Court of Appeals, the outcome of which was that men could wear their hair long as long as it did not present a health or safety issue.

A neighbor said the principal overstepped her bounds.

"Kids' styles change," said Richard Flippin. "This is reasonable - this is not something outrageous or offensive."

He gave Zach's family a school portrait of his daughter, Caitlin Flippin, 9, with braids in her hair. He said the picture was taken while his daughter was enrolled in Norton public schools.

When I was in school, I had hair down to my shoulders and no one messed with me about it, even though they had other kids cut their hair when it was shorter than mine. I think it's because the administration all knew I was from Canada and they wanted their crappy school to make a good impression on me. Seriously. No joke here. I got away with some amazing feats, usually centered around skipping and smoking, while other kids would not. The administrators would often ask me about Canada and how I like it down here in their school... Yocals...


[edit on 19-5-2005 by Zipdot]

[edit on 19-5-2005 by Zipdot]

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 10:06 AM

Who pays attention to hairstyles for more than a few seconds?

I make my jokes about hairstyles...but seriously, it doesnt make a difference what style you have, it's what's under that counts.,,if you don't realize have the problem.

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 10:08 AM
The thing that troubles me is that schools need to pick their battles and it seems as if they have forgotten how to do that. I seriously doubt that the cornrows would be a distraction during testing. Yes, before the bell rung I'm sure people ooh'd and aah'd at them, asked questions, etc. but I find it hard to believe that students would be so taken with the cornrows that they wouldn't be able to focus on a test. Give me a break. The Principal is wrong and should apologize.


posted on May, 19 2005 @ 10:14 AM
"Are there any queers in the theatre tonight?
Get 'em up against the wall.
That one looks Jewish,
And that one's a coon!
Who let all this riff raff into the room?
There's one smoking a big joint and
Another with spots!
If I had my way I'd have all of you shot!"
-Pink Floyd

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 10:19 AM
The story doesn't mention wether the child is black or white. I don't have anything else to say, but I thought that was worth mentioning. The picture here on ATSNN of a white kid with cornrows is not from the original news source.

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 10:22 AM
That image comes from one of the many sources for this news on,%25Y


posted on May, 19 2005 @ 10:31 AM
On second view, that kid looks pretty white to me. I guess that's what all the fuss is about. The principal thought no one would be able to concentrate on their tests because a white kid has cornrolls.

This kid definitely deserves an apology. Freakin' racists...


posted on May, 19 2005 @ 10:36 AM
Yet another example of the school system pushing the boundaries of their responsibilities....

There's no logical explanation for this.....There's quite an extreme difference between a dress code and a "hairstyle code"....

Now I agree...I had friends in high school who would get sent home if they didn't shave, or colored their hair pink, red, purple and yellow.....I don't agree that those are "offenses" worth keeping a child from learning, but if it was in the rule book and you didn't follow it, you were the one at fault....

But corn rows a distraction?! HA!! If anything, they make it easier for the person behind you to see b/c it lays the hair down on your scalp.....

I actually remember we used to have "Wacky Hairstyle" days.....See who could come up with the craziest looking "do"....

[edit on 5/19/2005 by EnronOutrunHomerun]

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 10:44 AM
If there is a dress code that included hairstyles then the school can dictate what it looks like but since there doesn't seem to be in this case it was a mistake on the schools part. I'm sure there was lots of discussion before school among the students -- but to think that the students would be distracted during tests is just bunk. If schools want to have control of what students look like they have to start using dress codes that spell it all out so there is no question of what the policy is.

posted on May, 19 2005 @ 10:52 AM
I am sure that if this kid was white, and he looks to be white in that photogrpah, then the kids were talking all day long on test day about how the principal made him take out his cornrows because he's white.

These out-of-touch educators and administrators that don't weigh consequences before taking action need to be replaced. If you can't think on your toes and seriously consider the effects of your actions then you have no business being an administrator.

"He's white! The cornrows on a white kid will cause a distraction! They won't cause a distraction if I have the kid take them out!"


"He's white! The cornrows on a white kid could cause a momentary distraction! I better act like I don't notice the hairstyle because I don't want to be branded a racist and get the whole student population up in arms. That would be a REAL distraction." ... "And anyways, if I don't make a big deal out of it, then maybe nobody will make a big deal out of it."


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