Tulsa school thinks dreadlocks, afros, and mohawks are ‘distracting’

A charter school in Tulsa prohibits its students from sporting dreadlocks, afros, and mohawks, because apparently they think it distracts from the serious academic work they are trying to accomplish. I tend to think giving a 7 year old girl a hard time about her hairstyle (which looks completely adorable and appropriate to me) would distract from academics far more.

4 thoughts on “Tulsa school thinks dreadlocks, afros, and mohawks are ‘distracting’

  1. Actually, the school’s policy seems racist to me. An Afro is simply African hair. Saying that an Afro is faddish is the same as saying that having straight hair is faddish. Again, African women and girls are being told that they are not acceptable the way they were born. They must burn themselves with hot combs or chemicals so that they may be more presentable to Europeans.

  2. I was surprised and pleased to see this story getting so much attention. I agree that the policy’s effects are racist, and I agree with the criticism it has received. But the reason I was surprised is that I think these policies are extremely common. My secondary school also banned all of those hairstyles, and I don’t think its policy was an unusual one in its region (rural southern Indiana).

  3. This pioneering charter school in a heavily African-American neighborhood is, by all accounts, succeeding admirably in its mission. If its (apparently entirely black) administration, with the support of its (apparently entirely black) board of directors, deems it conducive to that mission to have a restrictive grooming code to go along with their strict uniform policy etc. for their (apparently overwhelmingly black) student body, I’m not sure how much of a warrant the rest of us have to instruct them in the putatively racist or anti-academic effects of their policies. And Babs, I expect the administration would be surprised to learn that “an Afro is simply African hair” and that they have no idea what they’re talking about.


    By the way, you can make a back-to-school donation to Deborah Brown Community School through JustGive.org – I was moved to when I read more about what this institution has achieved and continues to achieve.

  4. The high school I attended had prohibitions against hairstyles exhibiting “extreme architecture”. I guess they weren’t fans of Gaudi….

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