Remember the adorable seven-year-old student from Deborah Brown Community School in Tulsa, Oklahoma who was forced to change schools because of her “distracting” dreds? Well Tiana Parker just may be sparking the change that her Oklahoma school needs. The state legislature is looking into changing the policy that bans “dredlocks, afros, mohawks and other faddish styles” from the Deborah Brown Community School.
“The Administration reserves the right to contact the parents/guardians regarding any personal hygiene issues that it believes causes a risk to the health, safety and welfare of the student, his or her classmates, and faculty or staff or detracts from the educational environment.”
The school board president, Kenneth James says that it was not the school administration’s intent to harm her or her family with the previous policy. But here’s the problem, Kenneth…she was.. Tiana will never forget this. Get this–the school board claims the policy was to monitor health and safety concerns. Sounds about right. SMH!
It’s being reported that State Senator Jabar Shumate and state Rep. Kevin Matthews have released the following statements after outrage spread past Oklahoma’s news and hit the national news circuit and of course, social media:
“We are working to bring the school administrators and board members together with the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus members to coordinate a review of these policies,” said Matthews, D-Tulsa. “Although direct legislative action is not an option of addressing the issue in the short term, school policies can be addressed, reviewed, or changed by the Deborah Brown Community School’s internal board. The Deborah Brown Community School has a proven track record for academic success, but we do not want their reputation marred by controversy that could be resolved by all parties having a meaningful dialogue.”
“Our hearts go out to the parents and family of this 7-year-old promising student,” said Shumate, D-Tulsa. “We don’t want any child to feel like their educational opportunities are being infringed upon.”
What’s interesting is that the damage is already done. Tiana has already been made to feel unpretty because of the hair that is growing our of her head. She’s been publicly ridiculed, but thank goodness, she’s also been publicly supported, which is why Tiana has become a catalyst for change and the hopeful reduction of ignorance against Black women’s hair.
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