A district judge has stepped in to quell controversy over a Louisiana Catholic school’s ban on “unnatural” hairstyles that has sparked nationwide outrage.
According to WGNO, a judge ruled that Christ the King Parish school in Terrytown couldn’t enforce its “natural hair” policy forbidding students from wearing braids or hair extensions. The parents of two sixth-graders at the school filed a lawsuit this week after the girls were sent home because of their hairstyles.
One of the students, seen in a viral video crying after being kicked out of class for wearing braided hair extensions, is the niece of “Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta” star Tokyo Vanity, who recently slammed the school for its discriminatory hair policy. The reality star has remained mum amid news of the judge’s ruling.
According to the parents’ lawsuit, both girls, who are African-American, were harassed over their hairstyles and given a reprimand letter that had to be signed by their parents. In a statement, the school reiterated its new mandatory natural hair policy, which it said was sent to all parents before the school year began.
“This policy was communicated to all parents during the summer and again before the first day of school, and was applied to all students,” a school spokesman said. “… Furthermore, the school leadership worked with families as needed to ensure compliance.”
Archdiocese of Catholic Schools Superintendent RaeNell Billiot Houston said one of the girl’s mothers spoke with administrators and agreed to restyle her daughter’s hair so it complied with the new hair policy. The new style, braided hair extensions that fell past the student’s shoulders, wasn’t good enough, however, so leaders say they had no choice but to remove the student from class.
In the lawsuit, the mother said when she arrived to pick up her child, school principal Dawn Castillo reportedly told her the girl’s braids were distracting because girls “have a tendency to twirl and flip their extensions.” The mother pointed out that young girls often flip and/or twirl their hair, no matter if it’s natural or not, to which Castillo responded, “it’s just something we want … We don’t want them wearing fake hair.”
The complaint further accuses Christ the King discriminating against Black students, WGNO reported, arguing that the policy “has a disparate impact on the African-American female population of students at Christ the King.”
“On information and belief, only the African American girls who attend Christ the King have been inspected, investigated, reprimanded and subsequently punished for wearing extensions,” the lawsuit states.
For the time being, the two sixth-grade students will be allowed to return to class.