Ashanti Scott is accustomed to wearing her hair in a natural style. So the 15-year-old Louisville, Kentucky high school student told ABC News that she was shocked when her school suddenly issued a new dress code policy that banned, among other styles, dreadlocks, twists, Afros higher than two inches, and cornrows (misspelled “cornrolls”).
“I noticed that as you kept reading they added more hairstyles that were natural and mostly worn by Black people,” she told the news outlet. “I’ve worn those hairstyles, so I definitely felt targeted, and I felt like other Black students like myself were targeted, as a whole.”
Ashanti’s mother, Attica Scott, who also has a natural hairdo, immediately phoned Butler Traditional High School, but couldn’t reach anyone after school hours. Scott, a Kentucky state legislator, vented on social media.
She tweeted: “Soooo…my daughter had registration today and let’s just say she’s not happy abt the #JCPS no natural hair policy.”
Shortly after her post, Scott received thousands of replies, many of them from African-American mothers who shared her anger.
Butler High School Principal William Allen, who is Black, told ABC that the policy was misunderstood and was never meant to target African-American students.
“The language for braids has always been in our dress code, and that’s strictly for male students,” Allen said to the network. “There’s never been any restrictions for our female students.”
Still, the firestorm led to an immediate meeting at which the school’s decision board suspended the policy. ABC said some parents and students at Butler were upset that the reversal happened so quickly, because they didn’t get a chance to express their anger about the policy.
Butler’s administrators and board members said they never intended to target any culture. Scott responded that their intentions are irrelevant. What matters is how the policy resonated.
“And the way that it landed for me and my daughter and other students and other parents is that it was offensive, and it was discriminatory,” she told ABC.
Butler’s new policy says students must have “well-groomed” hair kept “at a reasonable length.”
SOURCE: ABC News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter