During a school board meeting this week, the Deborah Brown Community School voted to change its policy that banned dreadlocks, afros and other hairstyles. The previous policy was brought to the public’s attention after 7-year-old Tiana Parker was forced to switch schools because of her dreadlocks. The new policy says only that students and parents are responsible for personal hygiene and that administrators have the right to contact parents or guardians regarding such issues. There are no specifications on hair styles.
According to local Tulsa media outlet NewsOn6.com, the charter school’s policy now states, “The Administration reserves the right to contact the parents/guardians regarding any personal hygiene issues that it believes causes a risk to the health, safety and welfare of the student, his or her classmates, and faculty or staff or detracts from the educational environment.”
Kenneth James, the School board president, said in a statement that it was not the school administration’s intent to harm Tiana or her family and he apologized if any harm did occur.
James said the ban on dreadlocks, afros and other hairstyles was due to health and safety concerns.
Tiana’s parents, Terrance and Miranda Parker, did not attend the meeting but in a statement to Tulsa World, Tiana’s parents said no board decision could “change the fact that our 7-year-old daughter Tiana was made to feel that there was something wrong with her appearance, in turn coming home in tears.”
Tiana Parker, at the age of 7, was an agent of change!