An 8th grader in Toronto was pulled out of class and reprimanded by her principal, Tracey Barnes, supposedly because of her natural hair. The young woman who’s name is being withheld, was doing her work when she was allegedly told to pull her hair back or spend the class period in the principals office.
“I didn’t see what the big deal was about my hair because it wasn’t bothering anybody,” the girl said in an interview with a Toronto news station. “I was just doing my work, so I didn’t see why I had to be pulled out of the class.”
The student’s aunt, Kaysie Quansah, used her Facebook page to question the Barnes’ professionalism:
“This ignorant principal demonstrated firsthand the heartbreaking ideals of beauty that are forced on our little dark skinned black girls on a consistent basis. My heart is breaking for my niece and all the little girls like her who already know that there is an unspoken ideal for ‘good hair’, who already know that the darker your skin, the more undesirable you are lead to feel, that people will automatically write you off because of the way you look.”
She added, “Why are you so occupied with my niece’s hair to the point that you would disrupt her learning? I would like to know what gives you the authority to be the decision maker on stunting my nieces’ dreams by telling her that she cannot achieve careers based off her looks? Why are you projecting your SELF HATE onto my niece?”
According to The Grio, the school district has stepped in and released a statement.
“For privacy reasons, we can’t speak to the details about this specific interaction, but we are aware that the principal spoke with a student about their hair last week. The school and Superintendent are following up with the family to address any concerns they may have. Hairstyles are not covered by the TDSB or school’s dress code. It’s our understanding that this interaction was not about hairstyle.”
Note, the principal is also an African American woman.