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

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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

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RAmem­ber, (spelled cor­rect­ly, if you know your Afrikan His­to­ry), it’s not the WHAT (what the hair looks like), rather it’s the WHY (Why did God assign this spe­cial hair to the­se par­tic­u­lar peo­ple) that gets oth­ers in a tizzy! Speak­ing of Sci­ence and research, If African (Includes African-Amer­i­can) peo­ple under­stood the REASON God gave us this hair; and there is a speci­fic rea­son, not just for show, not just because it looks dif­fer­ent; there is a FUNCTIONAL sci­en­tific rea­son we have this type of hair! If you don’t know, research it! READ, READ, READ until you know. Once you know,… Read more »
Jasmine Moore

Some African cul­ture believe that our hair works as an “anten­na” to con­nect to our ances­tors. Hair also showed sta­tus. The more elab­o­rate the hair the high­er in social sta­tus.

Melody Writes

I would still remove my child from the school.


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’!!


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?

AyoDle Rhodes

Exact­ly but they let the­se lil white kids com to school wit pur­ple n green n blue col­ored hair but thats accept­able

Chloe Chloe

This is the time. To say no

AyoDle Rhodes

They so jeal­ous n envi­ous of us itz sick­en­ing but yet they try n copy us evry chance they git our style our skin col­or or style of dance they’re true hyp­ocrites all across the board they wan­na con­trol us so bad as they did our grand­par­ents n great grand­par­ents they wan­na take our voice away at any cost.…petty on all lev­els

Carlos Louhisdon

My only ques­tion is why did this arti­cle or let­ter take so long to be out­ed to the nation­al pub­lic it’s only Octo­ber 2015 and this let­ter was writ­ten June of 2013. I use to sport my Locks for per­son­al rea­sons I decid­ed to cut it. That is total­ly ridicu­lous that some­one would even write such a let­ter to the par­ents. Since this took place two years ago what fol­low up has been done to see if this new ordi­nance was being enforced or whether it was repealed. Any­one!.

Annette Saggitarius Annette
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.….…


[…] feel the rule is racist.Black Girl With Long Hair, explains why the afro puff and braid ban is par­tic­u­lar­ly offen­sive to par­ents and students:“The dress code restric­tions high­light an age-old strug­gle that nat­u­rals […]


[…] should not be pun­ished, or banned for wear­ing our nat­u­ral hair.  I love what Leila, founder of Black Girl Long Hair had to say in respon­se to the […]


[…] this real­ly is the case at Hori­zon Sci­ence Acad­e­my (accord­ing to the blog Black Girl With Long Hair, the new pro­hi­bi­tions came in a let­ter to par­ents about next year’s dress code that was […]

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… Read more »

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.


[…] wom­en in Amer­i­ca, the option to remove the cos­tume sim­ply does not exist. Black girls are being shamed in schools for styles speci­fic to black cul­ture.  Black wom­en feel uncom­fort­able in the work­place […]


[…] Ohio School Bans Afro Puffs and Braids […]

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