Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Pulled Out of Class For Her Hair.......

Tolerance, understanding and empathy are in short supply these days. People demonize that which they do not understand, criticize that which seems foreign to them, and seek to destroy those who disagree with them. But children should never be subjected to such harsh scrutany. Especially not by those who's job it is to educate them. 

An eighth-grader was reduced to tears and utter embarrassment last week when she was sent to the principal’s office for simply wearing her natural hair.

The Black student who wished to remain unidentified, says she was pulled from class after wearing her hair in a crochet braided style. She was sent to the office of Tracy Barnes, the principal at Amesbury Middle School, in Toronto, Canada. Barnes, who is also Black, told the student her hair was “too poofy” and not professional. She wasn’t allowed to return to class until her hair was pulled back into a ponytail.

The student told her mother Teresa Quansah and aunt Kaysie Quansah.

Her aunt posted a message on Facebook about the incident and explained why her niece should love her natural locks.

“I didn’t see what the big deal was about my hair because it wasn’t bothering anybody,” the young girl told City News. “I was just doing my work, so I didn’t see why I had to be pulled out of the class.”

The family admitted they were shocked when they found out a Black woman would tell a child her hair wasn’t professional looking. But as Thurgood Marshall once said, "All my skin folk ain't my kin folk." The child’s aunt believes European beauty standards were drilled into Barnes, making it difficult for her to allow the student to wear her natural hair. The family also claimed the student was reprimanded in the past over her hair.

Toronto District School Board says that hairstyles aren’t in the school’s dress code and they plan to meet with the child’s family to discuss any of their concerns.



  1. I think that the new hair styles that African-American women are wearing these days is to be commended. Firstly, I think that they realize that many of us wear our hair in the "European" style, (me included,) and they want nothing to do with that. Secondly, it's all about health--"natural hair". I do have a complaint, however. Our pastor and the minister for music at our church decided to combine the "Young Adult" Choir with the Grace Cathedral Choir. Most of the women from the "Young Adult" Choir are between early to late 20s and 30s. Well, let me tell you--I'm 5'8 &1/2 inches tall--I LITTERALLY could not see OVER the heads of some of the "Young Adult" choir members, whether we were seated or standing!!! They wore their hair in all sorts of styles. Would you believe that the tallest of that group wore her hair ON TOP of her head in a bun??? That made it even more difficult to see around! I spoke to the minister for music and he did say that the young ladies should pull their hair back in a ponytail or some other style where the other choir members could see him when he was directing. THAT WORKED FOR A WHILE. Now I don't know whether the young 8th grader from Toronto had complaints about her hair from the people who sat behind her, but if she did, I CAN SEE IT. It really has nothing to do with Thurgood Marshall's "all my skin folk ain't my kin folk." I guess that I could say THAT, too. After all, I'm trying to see my choir director while he directs the music for the choir, and yet these young women are making what was once an uplifting experience something that I dread. AND, some of the new hair styles look as if it has the consistency of a brillo pad---the young lady who sits in front of me--well--her hair doesn't look as though it has ever had a drop of moisturizer on it. If I were to touch it, it might stick me. LOL. It's as if a woman wore a wide brim hat to a play--she should be asked to remove it so that the people behind her can SEE. Now, if the woman doesn't understand that--well other arrangements have to made.

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  3. I see your point as far as the choir is concerned, and there are definitely ways to take care of natural hair so that it won't look like a Brillo pad. From what I understand, the principal said that it was "unprofessional" which is debatable depending on your profession. I just think as an African-American women should could have been a little more understanding and handled it differently. After all hair is a touchy subject in the Black community, and young girls can be very sensitive. No matter what the principals personal feelings are, she had no right to try to impose her standard of beauty on a child. You and I both know that some girls are out there doing a lot worse.

  4. Thank you for seeing my point about the choir. This also pertains to any area (theatre, school, etc.) where there are people behind the person with the natural hair. I don't have a problem with the ways the young ladies wear their hair--in fact it looks quite attractive, unless you are sitting behind them and have to see what's ahead. I don't know whether the 8th grader from Toronto received complaints from the 8th graders who sat behind her, but I do agree that there is a way to say everything. The principal, Black or White, should have been able to come up with words that were sensitive, after all she is an administrator and should always be cognitive of her demeanor and words--she shouldn't want to be known as "the old dragon"---but the public, I surmise, now sees her as such.