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The Lorain Horizon Science Academy in Ohio is facing heat from the natural hair community after a copy of a letter to parents that included a ban on afro puffs and ‘small twisted braids’ was posted online.

The letter details changes to the dress code for the upcoming school year and includes the line:

Afro-puffs and small twisted braids, with our without rubberbands, are NOT permitted.

It’s unclear what the administration means by small twisted braids, but if they are referring to box braids they are banning a protective style that black girls have worn for generations. Afro-puffs are essentially the black version of the ponytail (when pulled back our hair puffs out instead of laying down), and yet the rules do not have a ban on ponytails for students of other ethnicities.

It’s unspecified whether this ban applies to both male and female students, or male students alone.

The dress code restrictions highlight an age-old struggle that naturals face from both within and outside of the black community. Our hair is viewed as radical, funky or unruly in its natural state, and restrictions are sometimes placed on us in academic and professional settings that do not extend to our non-black counterparts.

So far the school hasn’t issued a response or explanation of this dress code item.

What do you think ladies? Is this a fair restriction to include in the dress code? Why or why not?

A copy of the letter is below.

***UPDATE: Just received word that the school has lifted the ban. Here is the letter they issued today:

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508 Comments on "Ohio School Bans Afro Puffs and Braids"

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Donna
The hair must be clean and natural, but no Afro puffs or braids? That’s “IMPOSSIBLE” for most black children! The only way my children or I have ever been able to wear our hair not puffed or braided is to straighten it through unnatural means! I’ve never seen any dress codes requiring kids to put heat or chemicals in their hair and on their tender scalps to make it curly! If they can’t get over the freakin natural hair difference, then they haven’t gotten over the freakin natural skin difference! And, they call themselves an institute of education? Humph! I… Read more »
MsD

LAWSUIT waiting to happen.

Arianna

Everyone is saying the parents should stand up but we need to stand up too! Blow up their facebook and twitter accounts! Call them and explain that this is not acceptable! We can all make the difference. The fb and twitter accounts are under the school’s management company, Concept Schools: Charter School Management Company.

J. Nicole

I’m not even sure where to begin. I guess I need to get more details on this, but even so I can’t understand, nor do I want to understand how this can be rationalized. So are they forcing young Black girls to wear their hair straight!? Is it a way of getting Black kids out of the school!? What really kills me is how blatent society is in making rules to say “We don’t like this whole Black thing you have going on. Can you take it somewhere else?”.

Cece Danielle

If I were a parent whose child went to this school, I’d sue them. This is discrimination and extremely racist. How can you ban ponytails for black girls but not other ethnicities just because our hair is a different texture? Oh noooooo they would be hearing from me because this is horrible.

Chris

I guess it’s a stupid rule but I don’t give a fuck.They just want black girls care about themselves and not look like homosexuals. Basically the rule is fine. It’s a strict school. I agree with the rule. So black girls that respond to this message. I don’t give a fuck

Sabrina Antoinnette

This is sooo funny. Many African American women with their natural hair afros or afro puffs are very well paid models, musicians and actresses. Would you call Beyonce homosexual? Wait: Are you homosexual?? Otherwise, I would have guessed you would have noticed that. NO harm/no foul in your words – only someone that doesn’t have it together would take offense to what you have said, BUT Your negativity and stone throwing has no place here, Chris.

Mai

First of all Chris, there is nothing wrong with being gay. If someone is gay, that’s ok.

Second, since you like to judge people based on their looks, I’m going to judge you based on your words. You sound like a black man who tells black woman that to be beautiful they need 30in Remy weave with a Nicki Minaj injected booty. Live in your mom’s basement, drive a beat up ’85 Chevy with new rims that you couldn’t afford and you work a McDonald’s. Enjoy your pathetic life.

Ugonna Wosu

this comment is so dumb, I don’t believe you really mean a word of it. You’re just a troll

Erica
An elementary school aged girl has to where her hair the way her parent/ guardian fixes it. White people or any other race that know nothing about black hair and its many textures, should not make stupid rules about it, nor should they make idiotic comments about things they don’t understand. Any little black girl that has her hair fixed in boxed braids or any type of braids, is so that the child’s hair will be controlled and not all over the place. It in no way makes an elementary school child look like a homosexual. The fact that a… Read more »
Mel

Chris, go fuck yourself!! Only a dumb piece of shit would think that black girls with afro puffs and braids look like homosexuals. And I’m guessing you’re a racist, redneck, nasty ass cousin-fucking hick. Get the fuck outta here.

BGLH, forgive me for the cussing BUT I HAD TO!! That ignorant shit just pissed me off!

Guest1234
Tbis is pathetic. Why don’t they just ban being black? If black girls can’t wear braids and puffs, what do these idiots WANT them to do with their hair? Cut it off? Burn it straight? I’m pretty sure no other students are required to mutilate themselves before they are deemed fit for an education. That’s totally bizarre. And disturbingly cruel. I totally agree that an afro puff is identical to a ponytail – it’s the hair that’s different, not the style. Though, I do caution against saying it’s a “black version.” It’s not a different version, it’s the same exact… Read more »
Fii

I’d be the first to pull my child out of that school! I cannot stand how increasingly racist and prejudice this country continues to get. As always, it’s not as if we asked to be here.

D.K.
I know, we know, and they should know that it’s wrong, but reading the letter, I can see where they might have been going. They wanted to make all the little kids the same, stifle individuality and hopefully prevent bullying or a rebellious uprising. No bandanas for gangs, no mohawks for punks, no low cut shirts for underage pregnancy, and no afros for swagger/black mentality. It’s still wrong. They should have done more research into black hair care. The community over there needs to speak up, or they will also be to blame for sitting back and taking it. If… Read more »
dianna

Astonishingly stupid and discriminatory policy. Can’t make this stuff up.

Sabrina Antoinnette
Shame on them!! This shouldn’t go very far if the adults/parents take a stand and bring light to the topic. I’ll be very interested in their follow-up activities. Growing up that’s all my mother would do to get through a week of styling with my sister and I. She would braid and twist our hair. They must not understand the level of care and maintenance that is required for textured hair. It’s so funny how some people just don’t think when making those types of requests. My go-to rebuttal for those that have requested that I change my hair: I… Read more »
Jessica
I agree Sabrina- if they want to be disrespectful and ask you to change your hair, I see no problem with you asking them to change their face This is INSANE… But luckily I don’t see how this will actually be put into effect if the parents stand up as they should. If they are having a problem with children looking “unkempt” then they should simply request that parents make sure “the appearance is neat and tidy”. There is nothing inherently messy about braids and puffs. and it must be said… my children are some if the only Black children… Read more »
Jennifer Lumpkin
I’m from Ohio and unfortunately many people, including many black people — have seen natural hair as “undone” or “unkempt”. People are slowly jumping on the natural bandwagon, but it’s more of a trendy look rather than embracing our true textures. Everyone wants the “curly” look, rather than their real natural texture, hence the disdain for children coming to school with nappy (not natural) hair. Ohio is and has always been a very racially divided state — Cleveland specifically has many strides to make before young black children are looked at as beautiful rather than cute little poor kids who… Read more »
Courtney

I live in Ohio also. In fact this is in Dayton, OH. That’s my area. This is crazy

Mai
Whenever I read stuff like this, I get a feeling it’s like one or two people that complained and the school decided to make it rule (that’s what happened at my hs when a teacher didn’t like seeing people’s feet and the school banned flip flops). Instead of punishing the entire black student population at the school and shaming them into thinking that their physical appearance is inferior to whites, why not just educated those two people and explain to them why their ignorance is not ok. But seriously, when (and if) I get pregnant and have a child, I… Read more »
TWA4now

As long as it is nice and neat and well groom. There is no reason for this period!

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CherishBomb

This is absolutely RIDICULOUS and I’m tired of it! It’s just HAIR the way it grows out of our scalps. Why are they so offended by it? What is it to them what those children’s hair looks like as long as it is clean?

hmm

Oh this is some bull! This list is pretty strict also, no jewelry except a watch, no hair touching the collar?? They also said hair must be natural but are afro puffs and braids natural?

I went to a school with a strict dresscode but the “rules” didnt matter after 2 weeks, so hopefully this school is just doing this for show…

Bibi

They also said hair must be natural but are afro puffs and braids natural?
I was going to mention that as well…. I don’t get it

Miya

This is ridiculous! We’re always asked and criticized about our hair at the same time. 1)Why is African American hair nappy? 2)Why do black women get relaxers? 3) Why do black women wear weaves and wigs? 4)Why do black women hate their hair? It will never end! I heard a certain “freaky fast” restaurant doesn’t allow braids, dreads, and Afros on employees.

Bree

TRUE. Darned if you do; darned if you don’t.

K

Agreed! And it’s obviously unfair and discriminatory whether they admit it’s intentional or not. Exactly what does this school then suggest Black girls/boys do with their hair?

The parents should be up in arms and are hopefully making their voices heard as every other non-Black group does when institutions reveal how oblivious they are to their needs. We can’t expect anything unless we demand it, exhausting but not new. The model is the cutest thing in the world!

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