A seventh-grade student in Virginia was told he must cut his dreadlocks in order to remain in his private school.
Isaiah Freeman, 13, was transferred out of West End Christian School in Hopewell, Va., by his father when school administrators threatened that he would receive a “referral” every day he showed up to school with the locs. Though the parents made a point to keep their child’s hair neatly tied up behind his ears, this apparently did not satisfy those in charge.
“I think it’s a form of not being culturally aware, a form of stereotyping,” dad Shawn Freeman told the Daily News.
Principal Amy Griggs defends the school’s position, saying the issue is moreso about the length of Isaiah’s hair, and that this rule applies to all male students at the institution. “The rule in our handbook states that hair length is to be no longer than the middle of the neck, halfway below the ears, and not below the eyebrows,” she said to the News. “Even from the beginning of the school year, Isaiah’s hair has become considerably longer. This has never been about his hairstyle, only the length.”
Still, Shawn Freeman insists the issue is rooted in stereotypes. “It’s an issue of people feeling uncomfortable with a young black male having dreadlocks and having a certain persona of negativity.”
Principal Griggs later told the news that the School Board is considering diversity training and possibly making changes to the hair policy for next year. Isaiah’s parent will not re-enroll him at the school.