School slammed for 'racial profiling' over hairstyle rules

People are speaking out after a post about hairstyle rules in a Georgia elementary school went viral on Facebook (Credit: Facebook)

An elementary school has removed photos of its hairstyle policy after complaints that the rules curbed self-expression and were a form of “racial profiling.”

Danay Helena first posted about the rules at Narvie J. Harris Theme School in DeKalb County, Ga., on Facebook Thursday. The photos showed “appropriate” and “inappropriate” hairstyles, suggesting that young boys are not permitted to wear a mohawk or designs etched into their hair. Similarly, the photos conveyed that girls cannot wear colorful ribbons or bows in their braids.

“So that’s how y’all feel Dekalb County Schools?” Helena’s post reads. “Hair is a form of self-expression, shouldn’t be a right or wrong way”

However, some people on Facebook disagreed with Helena.

A person wrote, “...Most of you, MOST, have a dress code at work and you follow it, the students at Narvie J Harris Traditional Theme School are following the rules they were given and if they don’t want to or their parents don’t, it’s plenty of other schools in Dekalb County to attend.”

Someone else commented, “No one is forcing anyone to attend this school. If you disagree with the dress code, please don't send your child to the school.”

But many people spoke out, claiming that the rules showed “systematic bias” and “dehumanized” students.

“This is ridiculous! The administration should be ashamed of themselves...the school is failing. They should be more worried about actually teaching and uplifting the students in this school, which seem to be predominantly African American because the pictures are only of African American children,” someone commented on Helena’s post.

Other people shared their opinions on Twitter, stating that “racial profiling is still present” in schools.

Another person suggested that rules of this sort stop schools from being a safe space for students.

“I’m sick of students of color being targeted for living. Hair is hair! As black people hair is also apart of self expression...” reads the tweet. “...You cannot be culturally responsive and say this is RIGHT!”

Someone else questioned the purpose of the policy.

“It clearly has nothing to do with learning or school safety!!” the person wrote. “Who is at the decision making table when these appropriate v. inappropriate decisions are made?!?”

A spokesperson for DeKalb County School District tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the photos are no longer on display.

“The poster was the result of a miscommunication relating to appearance rules at the school,” the spokesperson says. “Once the district was made aware of the poster, it was immediately removed. In addition, a letter was sent to parents clarifying the school’s dress code and appearance policy.”

The district’s official student code of conduct does not mention any restrictions or rules against different hairstyles in their dress code section, however, it states, “Students/Parents are urged to review individual local school handbooks for any additional requirements related to student dress.”

Representatives from Narvie J. Harris Theme School did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.

Danay Helena did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.

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