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Jul 31 2016
by Madeleine Williamson

This High School Dress Code Banned Natural Hair — and Community Members Spoke Out

By Madeleine Williamson - Jul 31 2016

Yesterday, Butler Traditional High School in Louisville, KY revoked a controversial new policy, the Courier-Journal reported.

On Wednesday, state Representative Attica Scott Tweeted pictures of the new dress code. The policy, which Scott criticized as racist, banned “dreadlocks, cornrows and twists,” Mic reported. "They specifically outlined hairstyles that are worn most by black kids,” Scott told the Courier-Journal.

As Scott’s Tweet made its way across the web, opposition to the policy grew. The Kentucky American Civil Liberties Union got involved. “Singling out culturally specific hairstyles may send a signal to students of color that their very being is a distraction,” they tweeted. Many community members agreed. About 100 agreed attended the emergency meeting called to discuss the new dress code.

“We feel that a student’s academic success is directly correlated to appropriate attire and appearance,” the dress code said. Principal William Allen echoed these comments at the meeting. He praised the school’s “structured environment” undergirded by uniforms and a dress code. Nonetheless, the decision-making council removed the hairstyle restrictions in a unanimous vote.

“Does having hair like that take away from learning? I don’t think so,” parent Charice Baldon-Traynham said to the Courier-Journal after the meeting.

Lead Image Credit: Randen Pederson via Flickr Creative Commons

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Madeleine Williamson - DePaul University

Madeleine Williamson is a freshman at DePaul University majoring in journalism and minoring in political science and Spanish. She loves tea, stationery and exploring her new hometown of Chicago.

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