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A Toronto middle schooler never thought her natural hair would get her kicked out of class, but that’s exactly what she said happened.

The 13-year-old said she was sitting in class at Amesbury Middle School, doing her work, when her principal approached her and demanded she pull her hair back or spend the rest of the period in the office. According to the teen, the principal, a Black woman named Tracey Barnes, said her hair was “too poofy” and “unprofessional” and needed to be corralled. After hearing this, the young lady was stunned.

“I didn’t see what the big deal was about my hair because it wasn’t bothering anybody,” she told a local reporter. “I was just doing my work, so I didn’t see why I had to be pulled out of the class.”

The teen’s family has chosen to keep her name out of the press, but her aunt, Kaysie Quansah, wrote about the incident, and the damaging message the principal sent her niece about Black hair, on Facebook.

This ignorant principal demonstrated firsthand the heartbreaking ideals of beauty that are forced on our little dark skinned black girls on a consistent basis. My heart is breaking for my niece and all the little girls like her who already know that there is an unspoken ideal for ‘good hair’, who already know that the darker your skin, the more undesirable you are lead to feel, that people will automatically write you off because of the way you look.

She also had a message for Principal Barnes:

“Why are you so occupied with my niece’s hair to the point that you would disrupt her learning?” she wrote. “I would like to know what gives you the authority to be the decision maker on stunting my nieces’ dreams by telling her that she cannot achieve careers based off her looks? Why are you projecting your SELF HATE onto my niece?”

Quansah added, “Tracey Barnes love yourself, and allow my niece to do the same.”

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