A text message was sent to parents of students at Redemptorist Elementary School that read, ” This message is for all parents of boys in K-7th grade. I understand that the boys want to follow the latest fashion trend however the “Nappy Uncombed, Unmaintained, Picked/Sponged” look Must Go! It is getting out of hand. If their haircut is higher than 1inch it must be cut.”
The Rouge Collection called the school for comment and was informed that the principal Erica Walker is responsible for sending out the communications from the school. Upon speaking with Walker she refused to comment on the issue, stating she would not be speaking with the media.
Redemptorist Elementary is apart of the local catholic schools in Baton Rouge in north Baton Rouge. Parents feel the text message was racially insensitive.
Limiting a particular hairstyle that is worn by a particular racial group can be seen as offensive and culturally restrictive. Students in Baton Rouge wear school uniforms and hair styles are certainly a form of expression.
The choice to use the word “nappy” is a racially charged term.
Devin Antoine and Kirstan Brooks have two sons who attend Redemptorist Elementary and after receiving the text message were offended. Brooks said, “I was offended for my son and myself, being a natural, African-American woman. It’s pretty clear that this would only apply to the African-American young men because the handbook states that the front of the hair should be above the eyebrows and the back above the shirt collar, which is well over an inch. How do you explain to your 6-year-old that he may have to cut his naturally curly hair which he has been comfortable with for years, because his school doesn’t want them with “NAPPY” hair (like his) that is over an inch long? Everything about this message was offensive and unprofessional from the punctuation to the choice of words. Even if this didn’t apply to my son, I would still be offended as an African-American.”
Social media posts on this issue signal that the community is outraged. North Baton Rouge is an area of Baton Rouge that already deals with more than its fair share of discrimination and Black children in general deal with tons of stereotypes, but should they encounter them at school?
February 25, 2016 1:16p