Ohio School Bans Afro Puffs and Braids


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:

Screen Shot 2013-06-21 at 4.19.09 PM

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Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast.

  • Zaidi

    This shouldn’t be an argument. It’s an assault on black children, and the black community. It’s exactly why we had the ‘Black Panthers nearly 50 years ago’!!

  • Elena

    this might actually be the dumbest thing i have ever read….who the hell is the school to dictate how one can or can not wear their hair?

  • Annette Saggitarius Annette

    I hope lawsuits were filed because this is blatant discrimination on a race of people. Plus, I hope every black parent sent their children to school the next day rocking puffs and braids…it’s our hairstyle!!…What was the follow up? Does anyone know?

  • Denise Collins

    Draft copy my ass! I worked in a School District for many years and trust and BELIEVE this was NOT a DRAFT copy as they assuage! Whatever is sent out is a FINAL COPY unless otherwise noted! Nice try though……..

  • Celeste Bianco

    I’m glad folks put pressure on these idiots and got them to back down. Got to tell you, I am white (oh hell, let’s just call it what it is…I’m pasty), and I love black women’s hair. People should be able to wear their hair or their clothes any damned way they please. I’ve been fighting against dress codes since 1967. WHY is this still even a thing? You wear your hair any damned way you please, and if they don’t like it, to hell with them. (But if you need help, I’ll hold ’em while you slap ’em upside the head.)

  • kerinbot

    supposedly the ban was never supposed to be for girls, but to prevent young males from having the longer hair styles described (though that could be just some quick ass-covering). Even so, even given that it is an institution trying to maintain a certain college-bound atmosphere, that seems unnecessarily gender-limiting and unfair. I’m glad they are responding at least somewhat gracefully to the pressure and public outcry.