Cornrows, twists, mohawks banned in high school handbook
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Louisville high school is under fire because of its policy regarding student's hair.
According to Butler Traditional High School's handbook, students are not allowed to have cornrows, twists, mohawks or jewelry in their hair. The policy was voted on by Butler's School Based Decision Making Committee, a school council made up of teachers, staff and parents.
Tara Crush said her fifth grader, Brooklyn, wears ponytails and her high school niece has braids.
"It's not a lot to manage it I just part it and put it in a ponytail," Crush said of her daughter's hair.
She said it's a simple and easy hairstyle but one that wouldn't be allowed at Butler Traditional High School based on their dress code policy.
"That could be considered a distraction," Crush said.
The dress code policy lists styles like ombre hair, frosted tips, dreadlocks, cornrows and braids as hairstyles banned by the school.
"And it definitely raised an eyebrow," Crush said.
Many parents say the rules go too far and are culturally insensitive.
"Black traditions are dreads and braids they are very easy to manage for us," Crush said.
"I don't understand how hair growing out of your head naturally can district someone," said community activist Keisha Allen.
According to several Butler students, this policy isn't new and it isn't typically enforced. But they said it puts a lot of unnecessary attention on hair.
"African Americans, when we wear our hair naturally, it's not messing with anybody, it's not distracting anybody, we're still learning and doing what we're supposed to be doing. It's hair. It shouldn't be a big deal," student Demarious Dunn said.
Dress code policies differ by school. This one at Butler was voted on by the school's own council, made up of parents and teachers. But other parents say, the members of this council don't likely understand how natural hair works:
"You're kinda restricting how our natural hair is growing and that is just not acceptable," Allen said.
Parents are also concerned for their kids and how a policy like this will make them feel walking through the halls of high school.
"You might just actually send the wrong messages to these kids when they feel they're hair is just fine because that's how God made them," Crush said.
Jefferson County Public School superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens released a statement that reads in part:
"JCPS is a district that prides itself on equity with excellence and strives daily to be the best urban school district in America."
Butler's principal William Allen has called a special meeting of the School Based Decision Making council to discuss the school's policy on Friday.
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