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‘Boys Used to Have Regular Haircuts’: Louisiana Parents Furious After Principal Asks Their Son If His Braids Mean He Is a ‘Gangster’

The parents of a Louisiana rising eighth grader will transfer their son out of his school after the principal asked him if his braided hairstyle symbolized he was in a gang.  

Though the cornrows are not listed as banned in the school’s code of conduct manual, administrators and educators working at the Christian school expressed concern. One official was captured on audio expressing how she misses a time when little boys had “regular little haircuts.”

Louisiana Parents Furious After Principal Asks Their Son If His Braids Meant He Is a ‘Gangster’
Calvary Baptist School principal Angelyn Mesman, right, reportedly questioned Dalon Throne, left, about his braids. (Photos: Indisputable with Dr. Rashad Richey/YouTube screenshots)

Ashley and Damon Thorn believe the school was out of order to label their son, Dalon, a gangster based on a hairstyle his mother styled for him in their home.

Related: What’s Wrong with Your Hair?’: An Alabama Woman Was Fired from Her Job After Two Days Because of Her Locs. Now the Company Must Pay Her $800K

On Monday, May 15, a little over a week before the end of the school year, the student arrived at Calvary Baptist School sporting a new braided hairstyle. While he thought the braids were cool, the youngster did not get the same response from the adults at the school. He shared how the adults made him feel.

“I picked him up, just like normal, and asked, ‘How was your day? How did your friends like your braids?’ ” Ashley Thorn said to

She recalled, “We’re driving out of the parking lot, and he said the principal pulled him aside today and asked if his braids represented being a gangster.”

She and her husband were shocked by what her son said his principal said to him, particularly because, she said, the hairstyle was not an infraction under the school’s policy.

The school’s dress code does not restrict students from wearing braids or cornrows.

“An acceptable well-groomed haircut is required of all male students,” the manual states before detailing, “hair will not reach shoulder length nor will bangs be long enough to cover eyes. Rat-tail and Mohawk-type haircuts are not acceptable. Dreadlocks and afros over 3″ are not acceptable. Man buns and sculpting are not acceptable. Colored hair, feathers, and extreme styles are not allowed.”

The parents called the school and met the principal, Angelyn Mesman, the next day.

The Thorns recorded their 16-minute conversation with the principal.

The audio allegedly captures Mesman admitting to having the conversation with the student, assuring the family she pulled him aside from the other students in an effort not to embarrass him.

“I’ve never had a student wear their braids like that. I’ve had teachers personally come to me and ask about his hair and what I thought about it,” Mesman reportedly said.

The principal alleged most of her concern came from her experiences with watching boys mature and take questionable paths.

“I have seen children grow up in this school and I’ve seen them change, so I was just checking to see where we are. I just wanted to see his heart. Our culture is changing. Little boys used to have regular little haircuts,” she reportedly said.

She referenced a changing youth culture and what she feels could prove to influence today’s youth negatively. This includes hip-hop music.

“I’m seeing a lot of young people listening to a lot of rappers pushing for drugs and doing things opposite of Christ,” she added.

The controversy comes nearly a year after Louisiana passed the CROWN Act in the state, prohibiting employers from discriminating against individuals because they decide to wear their hair in a natural style.

Natural styles are also considered, according to the law, “protective hairstyles” which “include but are not limited to 16 natural hairstyles, such as braids, locs, and twists.”

As a student at Calvary Baptist School, a private Christian tuition-based school for students in grades pre-K to eight, Dalon is not protected by the law.

However, in 2018, West Bank Roman Catholic School in Jefferson Parish sent an African-American student named Faith home from its campus for wearing hair extensions. Her parents, Montrelle and Stephen Fennidy Sr., claimed her civil rights had been violated and filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in New Orleans.

Unlike the Thorn situation, West Bank’s school’s handbook explicitly says, “Boys and girls: Only the student’s natural hair is permitted. Extensions, wigs, hair pieces of any kind are not allowed.”

Weeks after the lawsuit was filed and the situation garnered national attention, the family and the archdiocese that makes decisions for the institution came to an understanding.

The hair policy was rescinded, and the Fennedy’s daughter was allowed to return to the school. The family then dropped the lawsuit.

It is unclear if Ashley and Damon Thorn will decide to file a complaint. However, they have decided to transfer the student to a different school in the fall.

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