We live in very sensitive times right now. We are not sure if it is because of this current climate of, in the gutter, nastiness that has been brought to the forefront by the likes of Donald Trump, and his lack of respect for women and other cultures. For sure Americans are up in arms about numerous things. The most prominent being race, and the overt expression of racism that seems to be acceptable of late in America, and around the world for that matter. In a time where the #BlackLivesMatter movement is growing stronger everyday, given the recent tragedies toward African-Americans and police shootings, it seems that race is currently the biggest matter affecting America. Back in August of this year, Butler Traditional High School, a Louisville high school in Kentucky, banned natural black hairstyles (think cornrows and dreadlocks). It essentially prohibits popular forms of natural hair that many African-Americans wear today. So the majority of their African-American students could be in violation of this new and absurd policy.
In the school’s hair and dress code policy, under the “Personal Grooming” section, it stated: “Hair Styles that are extreme, distracting, or attention getting will not be permitted. No dreadlocks, cornrows, twists, Mohawks and no jewelry will be worn in hair.” However, it also bands unnatural hair color, males from dying their hair, Afros more than two inches in length and any cut-in designs.
Obviously, the people who came up with these rules must have children who will not be affected by this new enforcement. Of course, parents of African-American teens were furious. Actually, people everywhere were mad that these students were being targeted for their natural hair – something other students weren’t. Parents – and even State Representative elect Attica Scott – took to social media to call out the high school on “cultural appropriation,” sharing photos of their children and hairstyles that would be offensive by the new school policy.
According to the Jefferson County Public Schools, the controversial new policies of Butler Traditional High School were solely their own and not something the district mandated. The policy was approved by teachers, administrators and parents that took it upon themselves to manage certain school decisions – calling the group the School-Based Decision Making Council (SDMC).
Attica Scott’s daughter was an incoming sophomore at Butler this year which made the issue personal. Attica is quoted as saying, “They specially outlined hairstyles that are worn by most black kids. To me this stinks of institutional racism.” After Attica Scott posted the schools discriminatory policy on Twitter many members of the community came forward and supported her position. It was then that the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky weighted in and begun its investigation in to Butler’s policy.
Thanks to Attica Scott who learned what was going on from the hard work of the student activist who can be credited as making the story go viral and garnering the world’s attention, the school quickly suspended the policy and revised their personal grooming section so that it’s no longer offensive toward African-Americans and all progressive people and now accepts diversity.