School Delays across the Tennessee Valley

A Georgia elementary school was criticized for a poster dictating hairstyles for black students

DECATUR, Ga. – An elementary school in Georgia came under fire after a hairstylist shared photos that the school used to show “appropriate” and “inappropriate” hairstyles predominantly worn by students of color.

A parent of a student at Narvie Harris Elementary in Decatur saw the poster in the school and snapped a picture. She shared it with her hairstylist, Danay Helena, who posted the photo on Facebook.

Helena said she was concerned the school was addressing only black students.

“It feels like it’s discrimination. There are only black kids up there, and those are basic styles in the black community,” Helena said. “It’s something that needs to be talked about. The outrage, I think, is warranted.”

Helena’s post quickly gained traction online, with more than 1,500 comments and 3,500 shares. Some people called the policies racist and hurtful to individuality, while others pointed out that Narvie Harris is a theme school — similar to a charter school — and has the right to dictate dress code.

The school took down the poster Thursday, the DeKalb County School District said in a statement. “The poster was the result of a miscommunication relating to appearance rules at the school,” it said.

“Once the district was made aware of the poster, it was immediately removed. In addition, a letter was sent to parents clarifying the school’s dress code and appearance policy.”

The school district’s dress code does not mention hairstyles.

People of color often face discrimination for their hairstyles, including a black high school wrestler who was forced to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit his match in December.

This month, California became the first state to ban employers and schools from discriminating against people based on their natural hair.

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