TERRYTOWN, La. – A Jefferson Parish school is getting national attention after an Instagram video shows a girl being sent home in tears because of her hairstyle.
According to WWL-TV, the video was reportedly filmed Monday morning at Christ the King Elementary School in Terrytown. The video begins with family members comforting a girl who is crying.
A woman’s voice is heard saying, “I don’t want this to happen.” The video does not show this persons’ face.
In the background, you can hear another woman saying, “What’s wrong with her hair? Her hair is fine.”
The video ends with the girl sobbing as she walks out of the school and gets into a car.
Christ the King Elementary School’s parent-student handbook says:
“Boys and girls: only the student’s natural hair is permitted. Extensions, wigs, hair pieces of any kind are not allowed.”
Family members tell Eyewitness News the school implemented the new policy over the summer and did not notify them about the change.
The girl’s family added that the girl attended a parent-teacher meet and greet before classes started and administrators did not say her hair was against school policy.
Archdiocese of New Orleans Superintendent RaeNell Houston said the school notified parents about the policy change during the summer and on the first day of school. Houston released the following statement Tuesday morning:
“Archdiocese of New Orleans schools develop policies appropriate for their respective schools. Christ the King Elementary School has a policy that states: “Boys and Girls: Only the students’ natural hair is permitted.” This policy was communicated to all parents during the summer and again before the first day of school, and was applied to all students. Furthermore, the school leadership worked with families as needed to ensure compliance.
As relates to the student in question, the school offered the student’s family an opportunity to comply with the uniform and dress policy and the family chose to withdraw the student; the student was not suspended or expelled.
We remain committed to being a welcoming school community that celebrates our unity and diversity.”
The policy prohibiting extensions, wigs and other hairpieces does not appear in parent-student handbooks for the two previous years. The first day of class for 1st through 6th grade was Aug. 9, according to the school’s Facebook page.
The girl’s family says it plans to meet with an attorney Tuesday to file a discrimination lawsuit against the school.
Rapper and activist T.I. shared the video on his Instagram Monday night calling the school “deplorable.” His video has been viewed more than 430,000 times since Monday night.
“You should be ashamed of yourselves, although I know you aren’t.,” he wrote. “This young lady is beautiful and her hair is perfectly fine. Unless of course, you have an issue with black people’s hair in generally? Or is it that you intended to publicly ostracize & humiliate these young ladies so they’d be ashamed of who they are and how they look.”