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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Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­lis­te, 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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LAWSUIT wait­ing to hap­pen.


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.


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.


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

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 »

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!

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 »

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.

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 »

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 ask them… Read more »
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 at… 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 »

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

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 wish… Read more »

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

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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?


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…


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


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.


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


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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