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Teen Student told her Natural Hair is “Inappropriate” for School by the Assistant Principal

Angel Obasi

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A teenager who enrolled at a private high school in Florida was reportedly told by the school’s assistant principal that her natural hair was “inappropriate” for school.

According to WCTV, the high school junior Jenesis Johnson who is presently enrolled in North Florida Christian School was called to the assistant principal’s office after a teacher began questioning the teen about her hair, which she’s worn in an afro for months. She told WCTV that the administrator said that my hair needs to be fixed,” it was not neat and needs to be put in a style.” But as Jenesis points out, “My hair is fixed.” In fact, she’s been wearing an afro on and off for a long while, and never had an issue until now.

The assistant principal reportedly pointed to the school’s extensive handbook, which prohibits “faddish or extreme hairstyles. If hair is dyed, it must be a natural colour. No permanent ornamentation may be worn. Hair should be neat and clean at all times. The administration will make the decision on any questionable styles.”

The 17-year-old told WCTV that the assistant principal, who declined when asked for comment, told her that her “hair is extreme and faddish and out of control. It’s all over the place.”

WCTV reports that Jenesis says the punishment “hurts me. It’s hurting me. For my people behind me, the younger ones, they’re going to have hair like me. Why can’t they wear their natural hair?” She also explained that she always sits in the back of the class so as to not obscure a classmate’s view, an extra precaution that she’s unfortunately had to take so she wouldn’t be considered a “distraction” by other students or teachers.

The Teen’s mother told WCTV that her daughter was given the option to finish the school year, but would need to change her hair before the start of the fall semester if she wanted to continue attending North Florida Christian.

The Boston Globe reports that the state Attorney General has since directed the school to stop targeting black and biracial students with dress codes that restricted braids, extensions, and afros. “These styles are not simply fashioned choices or trends, but, in addition to occurring naturally in many cases, can be important expressions of racial culture, heritage, and identity,” the Attorney General’s letter explained.

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Photo Credit: WCTV

Angel is a Fashion and Style blogger and loves to be described as a woman with creativity and grace. Angel is a Mass Communication graduate with a degree from North American University. All things Fashion, Beauty and Architectural Designs are her thing.Follow her on Instagram @styleconnaisseur

29 Comments

  1. Lola

    May 23, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    But sha. To be honest. The hair is distracting, it is nice but put a hair band and pack it neatly. If you were to go for an interview, you wouldn’t leave it that way. The school is preparing you for the real world my dear. I remember the guy my uncle advised to cut his dreads, he got a job after. Of course it depends on the kind of job. Don’t let anyone deceive you. Your appearance matters in the corporate world.

  2. Mbe

    May 23, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    That hair is terrible. Please dont even start with any argument at allllllll. I mean look at her! How will someone see “road” sitting behind that hair. She should atleast pack it or something. Abehg.

    • Seriously

      May 24, 2017 at 4:10 am

      The hair is not terrible. This is so sad how African/black women are quick to bash how rough, unkept their hair looks. So, the fake wigs/weaves looks better to them. There’s nothing absolutely wrong with wearing her hair in Afro, people should be allowed to express their individuality. The only thing is, if she’s going for interview she can style it. The corporate world is run by white people with their own standards which is unfortunate. What about people who walk around with red, blue hair and piercing.

      If you can’t see, move around. It’s that simple.

  3. Lacey

    May 23, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    @ [email protected] Lola!!! You guys are so right!!!This Afro can be worn on weekends, but school days, should be neatly boxed !!! What the hell are they interviewing her for? no one is looking up to this ratchet Afro,the hair is every where!!!

  4. blackbeatle

    May 23, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    it is rough abeg..she can pack it into an afro puff..this style can block the view of the board from another student….they are not ready for school

  5. Honestina

    May 23, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    Here we go again

    I’m a full African natural hairlista but if a student of mine should come to class with an afro, I’ll not tolerate it. This style is distracting. Imagine her sitting in the front seat, she’ll be blocking others’ view.
    A simple tying in a pony will be so simple. Enough of turning everything into a racial war.

  6. Natural Hair Lover

    May 24, 2017 at 12:02 am

    I think she can pack it up into a stress free, easy, nice and neat puff or bun with a scrunchie and there will be no issues. Like one of the earlier commenters said, she can leave the afro out on the weekend. Natural hair can be styled in soooo many ways that make it appropriate for weddings, parties, prom, etc. Maybe she should check out Tuke Morgan’s Versatility of Natural Hair Series for inspiration.

  7. Delta geh

    May 24, 2017 at 1:42 am

    This comment section is very disappointing. The hair God gave us comes out of our head like that. It’s not flat or laid like the white man’s hair. Why should she pack it? We have been brainwashed for so long that our own hair is not good enough. Why can’t we just let our hair be? Why must it be packed, etc. I’m not against packing etc but we should be allowed to choose how we want to style our hair. The Afro is not a costume it’s part of who we are.

    • Ottawa Queen

      May 24, 2017 at 2:26 am

      Even God is against indecency and uncleanliness. She has beautiful hair and God has also endowed us with wisdom to be able to reason appropriately. Okay, would you say because God has created a lady so beautiful, curvy and stunning to behold, she should walk around the streets without clothes, naked? Because she has every right to showcase what God has blessed her with? So she has every right to choose to move out the way she wants? Does that make it right? My dear, whatever we do as humans, should be done in moderation. Whatever what doing, is what doing well. If she wants to be natural, kudos! But know when and how to style that natural hair-do for the different events you find yourself at.

    • Delta geh

      May 24, 2017 at 4:41 am

      Lol so you think her natural hair combed out is indecency. Na wa oo! You can’t even compare that with dressing. God commanded dressing but I’m sure he doesn’t consider our hair to be something to tame etc. If she had not combed her hair or something that’ll be a different ball game.
      The problem is we’ve been so conditioned to the white man’s idea of hair upkeep so we can’t see clearly. Before it was taboo to have natural hair. I was natural before this new movement (I’ve been natural for the most part of my life) and I remember everytime I went to the salon there would always be one comment or the other; even outside the salon people had things to say. This was in Nigeria. So I say if you’ve got the fro, flaunt the fro as you please. My natural hair ain’t straight or flat and if I want to leave it in its natural form, so be it. I don’t think it’s untidy. I’m sure if it was relaxed and and she combed it out you won’t think it is untidy because it fits the rhetoric of the white man’s idea of beauty. Relaxed hair is tidy when combed out but natural hair is untidy.
      It’s quite sad that you think her natural hair isn’t moderation or decent or clean.

    • Ada_ugo

      May 24, 2017 at 10:18 am

      @Delta_geh so extending your argument, why do people bother showering? why don’t they keep blessing the world with the natural scents from their body? Why do people dress up, why don’t they walk around boldly in their birthday suit? People who bring up arguments like yours are misleading others. I am natural-haired and had my last relaxer 10yrs ago. Yet, I will not tolerate hair looking like that in my class if I was a teacher, and if I was an employee and a job seeker doesn’t have the decency to pack their hair and look neat, I will not employ them. there is a difference between being proud of whom you are and just being ridiculous because you are black.

    • Ada_ugo

      May 24, 2017 at 10:19 am

      employer**

    • Delta geh

      May 24, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      … the showering argument. I’m sure her hair is washed and combed. It’s not unclean. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree here. Our hair is still looked at as some ‘ethnic’ thing. Hopefully this will change soon and Afros and the rest will soon be accepted not as weekend or informal hair but as everyday hair.
      In fact, how about mixed race girls who comb their hair and leave it? Their hair is neat abi? You won’t send them out of class?

    • Chichi

      May 25, 2017 at 10:21 am

      @delta geh..im with you a 100%..The comments are actually sad and i think many are missing the point..
      Those of you talking bout how we had to style our hair every week in high school, no offense, but this poor girl cant relate… im sure the rule applied to every single female in your school except for those with short hair..i actually prefer that…
      The girl in question goes to school with ppl from different backgrounds…selena is allowed to rock her loose curls..no one forces her to pack her hair.. chung lee is allowed to wear her straight hair as it is..surjata is allowed to rock her long wavy hair..somehow no one finds it distracting…Becky is allowed to rock hers too..No one forces these girls to pack their hair.. but jenesis who isnt rocking a rainbow on her head..who didnt shave one side of her head isnt allowed to rock her hair in its natural state in peace…Why must she hide, umm, excuse me, “style” hers?…why must hers be either braided or packed? Cos hers grows differently? Why are her curls considered distracting while selena’s isnt?
      The picture up there is beautiful if you ask me..it looks clean as well which is really what she owes society..but i need yall to remember that we are talking bout our natural hair here…This is what some black ppl look like after a wash and go..and someone tells you its unacceptable and you dare not ask questions.. Why must your own be packed? Why cant you let your own hair free like your mates? if she were my daughter and decides to cooperate with the school and “style” her hair but doesnt ask questions, then that means im raising a dense child.. i want my child to be observant, bright and ask questions when things dont make sense to her..
      If in 2017, ppl still consider your natural hair or your afro distracting and you dont see anything wrong with that then you have a problem…most of us dont even take ourselves seriously so i dont see why these ppl should…i rock weaves too but when i loosen my hair, wash it, comb it out and look at myself in the mirror, i look more like that girl up there…So i look untidy because my natural hair doesnt fall when i comb it out? Then society says no its unacceptable and that doesnt make you feel some type of way or ask questions?..someone even said her hair is ratchet..Wth? Lol..
      Im all for looking tidy but pls let us look at the bigger picture here…once again, if you live back home, i dont expect you to understand the struggle..Not being condescending in anyway…@lola, while you raised valid points, black Americans didnt come this far by leaving everything to God…They fought for it and are still fighting…why is their natural hair deemed unacceptable in cooperate america? Why must it remain that way?..No black woman should be forced to pack her hair if she doesn’t want to…we tolerate their bouncy/distracting curls so they should bear with us too…so pls let those that are bold enough and wanna create awareness do so in peace…
      So if this is distracting, then we should rock our afros more till it becomes acceptable or till they get used to it..There is no one way of rocking natural hair..Gel/twistout are nice but your afro is beautiful as well..make sure its clean and you are good to go..i tolerate your natural hair so pls tolerate mine as well….
      I don’t understand why she’s being condenmed when yall should be asking questions cos im sure her mates are allowed to let their own hair down.. so basically her hair is inappropriate cos it stands…Thats it? Smh

  8. Delta geh

    May 24, 2017 at 4:40 am

    Lol so you think her natural hair combed out is indecency. Na wa oo! You can’t even compare that with dressing. God commanded dressing but I’m sure he doesn’t consider our hair to be something to tame etc. If she had not combed her hair or something that’ll be a different ball game.
    The problem is we’ve been so conditioned to the white man’s idea of hair upkeep so we can’t see clearly. Before it was taboo to have natural hair. I was natural before this new movement (I’ve been natural for the most part of my life) and I remember everytime I went to the salon there would always be one comment or the other; even outside the salon people had things to say. This was in Nigeria. So I say if you’ve got the fro, flaunt the fro as you please. My natural hair ain’t straight or flat and if I want to leave it in its natural form, so be it. I don’t think it’s untidy. I’m sure if it was relaxed and and she combed it out you won’t think it is untidy because it fits the rhetoric of the white man’s idea of beauty. Relaxed hair is tidy when combed out but natural hair is untidy.
    It’s quite sad that you think her natural hair isn’t moderation or decent or clean.

    • Ottawa Queen

      May 24, 2017 at 5:33 am

      My dear, you seem not to get the point. Yes, the word indecency also means inappropriate, unacceptable or not fitting and in this context, I feel it is. I am a naturalista as well. I’ve had my natural hair for about a year now and it’s really full and kinky. I love it. You know, I’ve also seen some young girls who have dem fro but poorly maintain and style it. In fact some, the hair seems so dry and brittle, you wonder when last oil was applied. They just wrap it with a band and off they go. And YES, hair combed out be it natural or not can be seen as rough or indecent if not properly styled. I’ve seen some really nice looking hair textured fro and I’m like Woww! I wish I can get there real soon. I have also seen the really indecent unkempt fro and I’m like Na wa o! Na by force? For this student, from this picture, her hair looks nice, full and soft but then again, It seems as an inappropriate hairstyle for the school environment; especially if the school has some strict hair policies, then she really needs to tame the hair, as you put it. Just pack the hair or use a hand band. Simply abide by the rules or change your school.

    • Latifa

      May 24, 2017 at 6:55 am

      Girl stop reaching. This has nothing to do with the white man’s influence. Wisdom is profitable to direct, and her wise mum should be able to explain to her why it’s important to style that hair.

    • Jo

      May 24, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      Probably the wrong choice of words may have been used. Indecency shouldn’t be matched with the hairstyle. Come to think of it, I bet the school has rules and regulations regarding how a student should look, so if she decided to go to that school, why doesn’t she adhere to those rules? No one is saying keeping a fro is wrong but hey, you read about the school before you enrolled. The least that can be done is a simple pony. That’s is a neat look. If you had to interview someone who had a fro on versus one who tied her fro yet all were equally good, who would be chosen?

      In my conclusion, this has nothing to do race. Let’s stop over-analyzing such issues and linking them to racism and that’s how peace starts.

  9. Latifa

    May 24, 2017 at 6:49 am

    If i was the principal of that school, there is no way in the world I will let her enter my school with that hair. For heaven sake make the hair into corn rolls or make it into a bun. To think the mum is comfortable with her carrying her hair like this clearly shows where the problem is from. The hair is really all over the place…..Na wa!

  10. Betty

    May 24, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Let me tell that young girl that natural hair is good. It depends on where you are. At school, she needs to be neat … putting a hair band, putting a puff behind or styling it as she is attending a college. In her free time she can leave it in afro as she want it. She is like showing off as a TV presente!!!! Sorry for that but she has to change.

  11. Nuna

    May 24, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Nobody is saying not to carry natural hair. But dont distract other students in class with it please. How will the student sitting behind her see the board bikonu? How?

  12. Asa

    May 24, 2017 at 9:30 am

    When we were in Secondary school, our natural hair looked like this when we let it lose o! But we had weekly hairstyles and we had to make our hair every week. If you didn’t make your hair and even just packed it, you were still punished. This girl wee jagalu isi everywhere and is granting interviews. Abeg pack your hair, weave it, wear hair band and hold it down, anything but keep it out of the air.

  13. Ijs

    May 24, 2017 at 9:33 am

    This haïr is not even accepted in standard high schools in all black countries. Everything is racial discrimination to African Americans but Africans Come to America and sée past it.

  14. nonsense

    May 24, 2017 at 9:36 am

    All these long comments…make your hair neat, tidy and decent thats all….you can’t do what you want…institutions have code of appearance; military, hospital, schools etc nobody said alter your natural hair, just let it appear formal…the school is not a discotheque

  15. sisi

    May 24, 2017 at 11:16 am

    My thoughts exactly Ijs… ah laye FGC!

  16. Nene

    May 24, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    No big deal here. I went to a primary chool where your hair had to be braided. You were not allowed to just pack your hit in a bun. It had to be braided. Didn’t make sense but it was the schools rule

  17. molarah

    May 24, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    Maybe this is one of those cases where we as Africans can simply not relate with the racism claim. In Africa you can’t even keep your hair out like that for more than 8 hours: by the time the humidity and heat turns your hair into raffia sponge you’ll know what’s up. In my opinion, it’s simply not practical for her to maintain her mane that way: she’ll have to dedicate so much time into conditioning and moisturizing the hair – time that could have been used in studying or just having fun as a teenager. But then, what do we Africans know?

    • Uberhaute looks

      May 24, 2017 at 9:58 pm

      Presently I have 25%texlaxed hair on my head but if I leave it like this babe up there, no comb will enter else it breaks.
      I think she should pack it or better still, corn rows.

  18. Uberhaute looks

    May 24, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Presently I have 25%texlaxed hair on my head but if I leave it like this babe up there, no comb will enter else it breaks.
    I think she should pack it or better still, corn rows.

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