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.