These Students Were Banned From Prom For Their Braids, So They Fought Back

26 May 2017, 11:52 | Updated: 26 May 2017, 15:29

Mya and Deanna
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

Some of these schools are just wild for the sake of being wild.

It's no secret that some schools will go to extreme lengths in order to police the appearance of their students. We've heard countless stories of dress code rules gone wild, but two teenagers have learned that these unfair policies can even extend to their hair. 

15-year-olds, Mya and Deanna Cook, were banned from their school's prom and extra-curricular activities for this hairstyle. Mya and Deanna

via Buzzfeed News

The twins, who attend Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden, Massachusetts, were informed that they would receive 16 hours of detention, be barred from prom, removed from Latin club, and prohibited from competing in track competitions all because of their hair. 

The school also apparently prohibits "drastic" or "unnatural" hair colours, but the girls say white students with coloured hair were not reprimanded. The girls were told by their school that "based on their research" into black hair, the girls did not need to wear braids. 

Anyone who actually has black hair or experience with black hair will tell you that braids are a common protective style that keeps hair neat and promotes healthy hair. Braids are also a great option for busy students who would rather focus on their studies than spend extra time each morning doing their hair. 

In response to the media attention, the school's interim director wrote a letter attempting to justify this school's wild policy.Hair letter

So, you want to ban braids because...they're expensive? Is the school paying? I'm confused. 

With the help of their community, the girls were able to fight back.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against the school and, one week later, were able to arrive at a reasonable compromise. The Attorney General (!) for the state of Massachusetts sent the school a letter telling them that the policy may violate federal law. The Attorney General also demanded that any student impacted by this policy be immediately allowed to participate in all school activities.  

The hair policy has now been suspended for the rest of the school year and the girls may resume their regular activities.

The Cook family say the still intend to fight for the rule to be permanently changed, not just suspended for the year. 

It may seem like making a mountain out of a mole hill but it is fundamentally racist to tell two young black girls that the only acceptable hairstyles are white hairstyles. Braids are a huge part of black culture and the hair on someone's head should never be treated as a distraction or a reason for exclusion. 

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