Schools That Are Obsessed with Hair

by Mark Wesley Pritchard about a month ago in hair

A rant towards schools targeting students' hairstyles

Schools That Are Obsessed with Hair

What grinds my gears, you ask? There's a lot of things that most people do that annoy me, but I'll be talking about the one thing that I've been curious about for so long: some of these school districts who are so concerned about how students, even people of color, choose to wear their hair. Over the last few years, I've seen and read stories about students being suspended for wearing, dying, and having them in cornrows and braids. People being fired from their jobs or not getting a job because of their hair. As a person of color, I take offense to what these schools are doing to children and lowering their self-esteem. Our hairstyles are part of our self-identities. It's part of who we are. Just like what we like to wear: it's part of our own individual personal style. In July 2019, California became the first state to ban discrimination against black students and employees over their natural hairstyles. I believe that more states will follow suit and adopted in all states. Last month, I ran into an article that not only upset me, but was angered. It took place in my home state and I have a lot to say about it.

I read an article regarding an 18-year-old named DeAndre Arnold, a senior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas, which is located 30 miles east of Downtown Houston. He was suspended last month, due to him wearing dreadlocks. Arnold might not be able to graduate unless he cut them off. According to the school district's policy, hair should not extend below the collar, earlobes, and eyes. DeAndre's father is of Trinidadian descent and men in his family often grow their dreadlocks past their hips. As of this article, he's still suspended and I hope there's a resolution and that he graduates on time.

Here's my take on this: the superintendent had the audacity to compare someone wearing dreadlocks to going to school in your underwear. That comparison to me is absolutely ridiculous and invalid. Please have several seats, sir. This school policy about hair is racist and seems to target black boys and men. I support DeAndre, because your hair has nothing to do with getting an education. As long as he's making good grades and doing the right things, his hair is not the issue. Most people, especially of other cultures, don't cut their hair due to their religious beliefs or because it's part of their culture. It seems that most schools don't care about that and act nonchalant. Teachers and other staff need to take note of that and be more understanding of the reasons why a student can't cut their hair.

I remember when I was 10, 11 years old that I had a Nike swoosh design on my head. My brother and I would go to the barbershop every few weeks to get our haircuts, getting different designs. My friends at school loved our designs and thought it was cool. I don't recall me or my youngest brother got in trouble for our hairstyles. I've had different hairstyles during my adulthood, from having a bald look to wearing it in a mowhawk. I wear my hair in different ways, because it identifies who I am and can express myself. Since I work at a company that the dress code is business casual, I have to keep my hair neat.

So here's my rant to schools who are so obsessed with hair instead of keeping schools safe. Do you know what grinds my gears? You trying to lower the self-esteem of children by telling them what to do with their hair. Calling someone's hairstyle a "distraction" is ridiculous, just because you're bothered by it. Put more energy towards protecting our schools and bullying, not single out those who have long hair, extensions, dreadlocks, dyed hair, and so on. Our hair has nothing to do with us getting an education, so miss me with the "distraction" excuse. I defend everyone's right to wear their hair how they choose to, especially my black friends, relatives, younger brother and younger sister, and finally, my followers. Our hair is none of your business. It's who we are and confident of wearing it.

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Mark Wesley  Pritchard
Mark Wesley Pritchard
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Mark Wesley Pritchard

LGBTQ cosplayer in Arkansas. On the Autism Spectrum. GlitchCon 2019 Cosplay Contest Judge’s Choice Winner.

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Instagram: @thecosplayerfromtexas

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