Kindergartner Jalyn Broussard was excited about his new haircut and wanted to show it to his classmates at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Belmont, Calif., but unfortunately that excitement eventually turned into sadness once he was reprimanded for it.

Mariana Broussard, Jalyn’s mother, was told by the school’s principal, Teri Grosey, that Jalyn’s haircut violated the school’s policy and it was distracting. The school labeled the haircut as a ‘faux hawk’ which is banned, but Broussard explained to the school that it wasn’t a faux hawk, but a modern fade.

“I thought I misheard when they told me to pick him up,” his mother, Mariana Broussard, told The Daily Beast of that fateful day in December. “It’s something that’s so small but it represents something larger. He had increased visibility to these teachers.”

Broussard also said she pointed out students of other ethnicities at the school wearing the same hairstyle as her son does. She stated that her son knew he was being singled out.

“He knew exactly what it was about—because of how his hair as an African-American looked,” she added, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

In response to Broussard’s complaint the school stated, “School policy on hairstyles is very explicit and clear. Parents acknowledge and accept that policy.”

Broussard seeks about $16,000 for tuition reimbursement for Jalyn and his brother, who was a second-grader at the school. She also wants the staff and administrators to have cultural and sensitivity training.  Since the incident, her son is now attending public school.

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