A high school in Kentucky found itself the center of controversy after a questionably racist natural hair policy seemed aimed at its Black student body. After public outcry and inspired chatter on social media, the school temporarily suspended the ban as it reviews the policy.
Attica Scott, the first Black woman to serve in the state’s legislature in 20 years, is the mother of a sophomore student at Butler Traditional High School in Louisville. Ms. Scott’s daughter gave her mother a copy of the school’s policy, which shot down the wearing of cornrows, braids, twists and other popular natural hair styles. Scott, who wears her hair in dreadlocks, made it a personal crusade to call attention to the policy.
The Courier-Journal reports:
“I don’t understand why we’re going to focus on something like natural hair styles when we should be focused on education,” Scott said. “They specifically outlined hairstyles that are worn most by black kids. To me, this stinks of institutional racism.”
She decried the policy as discriminatory against black students who wear their hair in a natural, unstraightened state. And after Scott posted the policy on Twitter on Wednesday evening, several people shared similar concerns, with many expressing outrage at the policy.
Jefferson County Public Schools’ own chief equity officer, John Marshall, tweeted photos Thursday morning of his three daughters sporting different hairstyles, including cornrows, dyed hair and beads.
As it stands, a Butler High council decided to suspend school’s dress code policy last Friday which included mention of the hairstyles. The school-based councils that decide on behalf of the schools is a commonplace practice in the state. No word yet if the school will lift the policy indefinitely.