She kicked a teacher? No.
Slapped a student? Nope.
Brought a box of matches to school? Try again.
Surely it wasn’t because she has long hair?
Unfortunately, it was precisely for that reason:
A Native American child was reportedly sent home early from his first day of Kindergarten last week because officials said his long hair conflicted with the school’s dress code.
Malachi Wilson, 5, does not receive haircuts because it is against his religion as a member of the Navajo Nation, the child’s mother told a local CBS affiliate. Apparently though, this religious rule conflicts with F.J. Young Elementary School’s dress code, which says that, “Boys’ hair shall be cut neatly and often enough to ensure good grooming.”
When the child showed up for his first day of Kindergarten at the Texas school he was sent away. The principal told April Wilson, Malachi’s mother, that he would not be able to attend class until his hair was cut, reports Native News Online.
School officials reportedly told April Wilson that she had to prove that Malachi was Native American. After the family provided official Navajo Nation documentation, the district said Malachi could return to school, and he went on to attend class the next day, reports the outlet.
“I enrolled him back in June so I thought we were all set for Malachi to attend school on Monday,” Wilson told the outlet. “I checked the ‘Native American’ box on the enrollment form.”
Representatives for the school told the CBS affiliate that they followed procedure “one hundred percent,” and pointed to the district handbook, which states that, “religious or spiritual beliefs may qualify for an exception from provisions of the dress code. However, any exceptions must receive prior approval by the campus administrator.”
Seminole Independent School District superintendent Doug Harriman, told The Huffington Post that he thinks the incident was overblown. He confirmed that the district initially told April Wilson that Malachi’s hair was a dress code violation, and that once she provided documentation that Malachi was Navajo, it was not a problem.
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