Kansas faculty district’s hair coverage for boys violates rights: ACLU
The household of a Black scholar who was given in-school suspension over his coiffure is suing Texas officers citing a violation of the CROWN Act.
Claire Hardwick, USA TODAY
The American Civil Liberties Union condemned a southeast Kansas faculty district Friday for forcing an 8-year-old Native American boy to chop his lengthy hair regardless of lengthy hair being integral to his religion and tradition.
R.V. Haderlein Elementary, situated about 140 miles south of Kansas Metropolis, has a “Boy’s Hair Size” coverage that requires boys, not ladies, to put on their hair quick, the ACLU stated.
The mom of the kid, who’s a member of the Wyandotte Nation, defined to the college that lengthy hair is a part of the household’s religion and tradition however faculty officers nonetheless pushed her to chop the boy’s hair or else he can be despatched residence sooner or later.
The ACLU says the college’s determination violates a number of civil rights legal guidelines, together with the Kansas Preservation of Non secular Freedom Act, the U.S. Structure, Title IX of the Schooling Amendments of 1972 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The varsity district’s coverage states that for boys, hair can not contact the collar of a crew neck t-shirt, cowl their eyebrows or hold previous their earlobes. Ponytails and rattails will not be allowed both. There isn’t a hair size coverage for ladies, the ACLU states.
When reached by way of e-mail, Girard Colleges Superintendent Todd Ferguson stated the district cares about making college students really feel secure and revered.
“I’m unable to touch upon particular person college students, households or workers, as a consequence of confidentiality legal guidelines. I can share that the USD 248 Board of Schooling is planning to evaluate and take into account updates to the costume code coverage once they meet on December 14th,” he wrote by way of e-mail Monday morning.
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Males in boy’s tribe usually solely lower hair when in mourning, ACLU says
In its letter despatched Friday, the ACLU requested that the district permit the boy to put on his hair “previous his shoulders, unfastened or in a braid, as his tribal and non secular customs dictate.”
The boy’s tribal customs primarily permit boys to chop their hair or put on it quick solely when grieving family members who’ve handed away. The boy needed to undertake the identical observe after seeing different male tribal members put on their hair lengthy final summer time.
“Haderlein’s coverage impacts Native American college students disproportionately and perpetuates a legacy of cultural, psychological, and religious trauma and discrimination,” the ACLU stated on its web site. “Moreover, the college’s discriminatory sex-based hair coverage sends a dangerous message to boys that they can’t be female in any means, and this message harms all college students by selling inflexible views of gender norms and roles.”
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A timeline of occasions stemming again to August
The varsity district advised the boy’s household he wanted to chop his hair to adjust to the costume code in August. His mom went to the college the following month to request an exemption as a consequence of his religion and Native American customs. She additionally provided to point out documentation that the boy is on the Wyandotte Nation Tribal Roll however the district advised her there have been no exemptions.
The varsity’s assistant principal emailed the boy’s mom on Sept. 22 and stated if his hair was not lower by Sept. 25, he can be despatched residence. The assistant principal stated the boy’s mom might contact the district superintendent to debate it additional.
In line with the ACLU’s letter, the boy’s mom tried to name the superintendent however her calls had been ignored and never returned. Pondering the boy would repeatedly be despatched residence or suspended, the boy’s mom lower his hair that weekend.
“As a result of the Boy’s Hair Size Coverage is facially illegal, we additionally urge you to reevaluate and rescind the coverage in its entirety,” the ACLU wrote in its letter to the college district.
“Within the meantime, we urge you to instantly grant an lodging permitting him to put on his hair under his shoulders in accordance along with his cultural and non secular traditions.”
The ACLU has given the district till Dec. 1 to answer its requests.