Last week the story of 7-year-old Tiana Parker sparked a national outrage. Tiana was sent home from Deborah Brown Community School because her dreadlocks didn't fit the dress code, which stated that "hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros, mohawks, and other faddish styles are unacceptable."
The negative publicity — including a petition that received more than 20,000 signatures — was apparently enough for the Tulsa, Okla., charter school to reverse its hair policy. According to News on 6, the school has rewritten its policy to be more inclusive of different hairstyles.
The board voted Monday night to change the policy as it pertains to hairstyles, saying [it's] a personal hygiene issue, instead of specifying what styles are allowed.
The policy now reads:
"Each student and the parents/guardians of the student are responsible for the personal hygiene of the student. 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 petition's organizer — Wagatwe Wanjuki of RH Reality Check, an online magazine that focuses on sexual and reproductive health and justice issues — said in a statement, "This is a huge victory for equal access to education for young students of color."
Meanwhile, Tiana's family, who transferred their daughter to a different school, told News on 6 that they have no plans to send her back to the school, even with the new policy in place.
Read more at News on 6.
Jozen Cummings is the author and creator of the popular relationship blog Until I Get Married, which is currently in development for a television series with Warner Bros. He also hosts a weekly podcast with WNYC about Empire called Empire Afterparty, is a contributor at VerySmartBrothas.com and works at Twitter as an editorial curator. Follow him on Twitter.