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

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Mary Keith

When did hair style become a part of education,hair has nothing to do with a child getting a education, grades matter not styles. Wow what is the problem say it’s not racist well you fool me ,racism has went no where. seeing whites has adapted to our hair style, so it should have been made clear . Our style is unique,as well as our children.who why and how did this even be put into as you say a draft I don’t get it.

Beauti Lewis
Instead of trying to call anyone names, I have a question. If the comment was meant for boys only why was it not put in the paper at the end of the bullet. If you look at the bullet right before it it clearly states boys only so if this is the case why not do it for the next bullet as well. My opinion is clear, it was originally meant for all students but because people complained the school tried to save face by stating it was a mistake. This is my opinion and you do not like what… Read more »
danny

I cant believe this. Why in the world would a school board make such a decision. They DID NOT have to do this. They already took away the students rights to wear regular clothes. Now, they are taking away their right to wear their hair the way they want??!!I mean really. It shouldn’t be the school’s decision on how the child wears their hair, it should be the parents or child’s decision on how they want to wear THEIR HAIR!!!! Point Blank.

I wish things were better

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. (Albert Einstein)

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[…] a place of public accommodation due to (her) sex and sexual orientation.” But an Ohio school added a prohibition against “Afro-puffs and small twisted braids with or without rubberbands” to their updated […]

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[…] di informashon: Black Girl Long Hair i […]

toucanne

If what you want in your dress code is for all boys to have short hair, then say, “all male students should keep their hair short.” How short-sighted and insensitive can you get? It sounds like they’re private school, so i guess they can stipulate a dress code, but good luck enforcing that in this day and age. Many ethnicities have a tradition of longer hair for males. They shouldn’t have a problem with it as long as the boys are clean and well-groomed.

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[…] full Article:  http://blackgirllonghair.com/2013/06/ohio-school-bans-afro-puffs-and-braids/ Did you like this? Share it: Tweet Tweet Share (function() { var li […]

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[…] Found at BGLH […]

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[…] there’s this article in Black Girl With Long Hair about a charter school that banned “Afro-puffs and small twisted braids, with or without […]

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[…] Black Girl with Long Hair reports that Horizon Science Academy, a Cleveland charter school, has instituted a ban on “afro puffs” and “small twisted braids.”  Ironically, the same policy requires students’ hair to “look natural.”  I assume this refers to hair color–students dyeing their hair pink or blue or some other non-naturally occurring color–or perhaps the use of gels to sculpt hair into gravity-defying shapes.  So, while other students’ use of chemicals to radically alter the state of their hair is restricted, black students are effectively required to alter theirs. […]

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[…] me. Between hearing of a little black girl whose braids were cut off by a teacher , an Ohio school banning natural hairstyles for black children, the Paula Deen fiasco and the George Zimmerman trial I was SPENT. When the […]

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[…] June 14th Horizon Science Academy, a charter school in Lorain, OH, issued a new dress code for its 500 students in kindergarten to 10th grade. The kids wear uniforms, but a dress code is […]

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[…] UPDATE:  Happy to report that the school has responded to the outcry and rescinded this policy. […]

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[…] goes far beyond the Supreme Court and into the everyday where young black girls are told that they cannot wear their hair in afro puffs and black women have to fight off the stigma associated with wearing their hair natural. Both hair […]

jimmy
Hair styles like “afro puffs” and mini twist or any hair style a parent decides to give their child they have a right to do so. The hair was not colored blue or done in a dramatic style so it should not be frowned upon. I am not calling you racist but it sure does look that way. In some cultures like islander cultures, it isto part of thier culture for men to have long dreads. Black hair is already hard to manage do you really think we want to make it harder. That rule shouldn’t have even been considered,… Read more »
princesspr

Oh, Puleazzzzz…that so was NOT a draft! It was the final copy and the school was definitely talking about African American students. What a joke!

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[…] popular natural hair blog Black Girl with Long Hair, states that, “The dress code restrictions highlight an age-old struggle that naturals face from […]

Mother of One
http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3498502 For those of you calling me racist for asking questions as to “why the ban was proposed and by whom”, please follow this link to The Huffington Post’s website. It appears that the ban on puffs wasn’t even applicable to girls! It was directed towards the male student body because and I quote: “It had nothing to do with African American young ladies. It was rally moreso directed towards African American young men here at this school. There were a couple of young gentlemen here at the middle school and part of the policy here is to have shirts… Read more »
Mr. Gordon

It is very likely the school is operating off a pretext to ban a hairstyle typically worn by blacks and justifying its’ decision by “want[ing] the young men to be well groomed.” There is a fine distinction between banning a particular hairstyle and demanding, pursuant to school policy, that a particular hairstyle be well-groomed.

Olivia

Well… if this was directed to the male students, why not make it general instead of racist. They could have said all male students must be well groomed and maintain a regular hair cut no longer than 2 inches in length. No need to mention puffs and braids…. ridiculous

Mari

So why did they not break it down to male and female dress code requirements. I went to a school that did not want males with long crazy hair they specifically said males. It was worded better than I am saying it but you get me. This school put out a statement which an educated person should have noticed needed certain specifications to be less offensive.

Teach

Nearly all HSA schools use similar policies. HSA Cleveland has been for years. It’s not an issue…at all.

IN My Humble Opinion
Do Black people seriously think that only they have Highly textured hair??? Then they haven’t met a Jew who would be socially considered white. I am a hair dresser doing all hair types for almost 15 years. I have white, black, Asian, Indian, and you name it coming to see me. They all have different textures. I have done many Black women with fine soft hair. Quit feeding this. Go to the school without an attitude and educate them on your hair types and why you do the braids, why do the pony tails, why you choose to keep it… Read more »
Mother of One

Awesome picture! I love your response.

Yeah right

If a black girl Xith an Afro can’t put her hair in ponytails or out because its puffy and can’t be braided because they disagree with them what’s left?not everyone wants to put chemicals in their hair especially not their children’s.and im not going to run heat over a childs hear constantly as shes having a tantrum.you want to shave her hair?please get real.my childs braids have. Never hindered someones ability to receive an education.and what other races wear small tight braids most of time??

Mother of One

And if anyone really reads my responses that would see that I did not say it is fair to single out anyone based upon race. I don’t think it is. What is did say and will continus to assert is that if any student creates a distraction in any way, it should be addressed in the best interest of the LEARNING environment!!!

Unknown

why should HAIR cause a distraction, though? are the other kids going to be in awe of the kid with the big afro and not pay attention in class? come on.

pam

its amazing that so many of Gods children behave this way, maybe if we open our eyes, ears and HEARTS, the world could be a better place for all of us no matter what race you are. so next time you want to comment please really think about how you might hurt or offend someone else. Isn’t there more important things to fix in this world ????child molestation ,rape, murder ,hunger, domestic violence, child sex slavery and the list goes on . God help us ALL………

Mother of One
First off, my ex- boyfriend of THREE years was black, so don’t play the race card on me! He and I are still friends…it just didn’t work out. In addition to that, my grandmother was half-Cherokee raised in Alabama LONG before civil rights came around. Because she was a so-called “half-breed” she was legally denied ANY kind of education. When she married, she HID her heritage to protect HER children from the same discrimination! My comments were not meant to be hurtful. The classroom should be about gaining an education that moves one FORWARD in life. If the students are… Read more »
Mother of One
Okay, first off, I’m white, mother of a five year old girl with waist long hair. My first impression of the pic shown was that she’s adorable, but how could any student seated behind her see around her hair…at all? Is that fair to any child in the room? How much does that affect the decision? How much gang activity is there in the district in reference to the small twisted braids? Does this indicate gang influence or affiliation? As for beads in the hair, do they make lots of noise as they move around? Are the kids doing it… Read more »
Clifton
I have a hard time believing that your response is sincere. Partly I wondered if it were a joke simply to incite a response. If your comments represent your genuine position I am far more concerned. “How could any student seated behind her see around her hair?”??? What you may not realize is that to impose conditions upon anyone that prohibits them from expressing their natural traits is oppressive, at best. Can we then argue that no Black children in an African nation can get a decent education because no one can see over anyone’s head and the class room… Read more »
Mother of One
First off, my ex- boyfriend of THREE years was black, so don’t play the race card on me! He and I are still friends…it just didn’t work out. In addition to that, my grandmother was half-Cherokee raised in Alabama LONG before civil rights came around. Because she was a so-called “half-breed” she was legally denied ANY kind of education. When she married, she HID her heritage to protect HER children from the same discrimination! My comments were not meant to be hurtful. The classroom should be about gaining an education that moves one FORWARD in life. If the students are… Read more »
Shauna B.
I see your point but you teach your children to say something to their teacher about any issue they come across in class. If they can’t see raise your hand and say so. I understand that little girls hair is interesting but your school work is more imporatant save that for the playground. Black people are limited to the natural ways we can style our hair and to have us not be able to do this for our little girls is ridiculous. I don’t care what the problem may be but by banning something black people have been doing with… Read more »
Daneisha

Your daughter cries when you want to cut her long natural hair, so what about the little girls who going to cry because they can’t wear their natural hair at all. Same difference only the skin colors are different and the type of “natural” hair are also.

Mother of One
First off, my ex- boyfriend of THREE years was black, so don’t play the race card on me! He and I are still friends…it just didn’t work out. In addition to that, my grandmother was half-Cherokee raised in Alabama LONG before civil rights came around. Because she was a so-called “half-breed” she was legally denied ANY kind of education. When she married, she HID her heritage to protect HER children from the same discrimination! My comments were not meant to be hurtful. The classroom should be about gaining an education that moves one FORWARD in life. If the students are… Read more »
Michelle

Stop! Troll!

Susan

How can they use “Hair must look natural” and “no Afro-Puffs” together?

Will

I’m a white male and partially native american… with that said even I find what this school was trying to pull as rather outrageous and disrespectful to the black community. Why is it afro-puffs aren’t allowed but ponytails are allowed? Why is it small tight braids aren’t allowed but regular braids are? There is no reason for this idiotic crap beyond racism… That and the teachers desperate desire to control everything about our children while turning them into mindless worker drones.

Abi

As a white trans* woman, I’m not sure just how valued my input may be. But here goes anyway. There are very few reason that a hairstyle should be banned, the most prevalent being safety. But as other hairstyles were not banned, this is obviously not the case. Those of you who are parents, are lists of appearance regulations like this commonplace? And personally, I don’t like “good hair”. 🙂

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[…] braids, with or without rubber bands.” After getting some public shine on the popular blog, Black Girl Long Hair and receiving backlash, the school issued an […]

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[…] braids, with or without rubber bands.” After getting some public shine on the popular blog, Black Girl Long Hair and receiving backlash, the school issued an […]

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[…] In addition, afro-puffs, as has been mentioned by multiple blogs and commenters including BGLH.com, are the “black version of the ponytail (when pulled back our hair puffs out instead of […]

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[…] braids, with or without rubber bands.” After getting some public shine on the popular blog, Black Girl Long Hair and receiving backlash, the school issued an […]

Maria
I don’t even know where to begin. I grew up in Northern Kentucky as a minority black student. My mom sent me to the salon to get my first relaxer when I was ten years old, partly because she was tired of dealing with my hair and partly because I would fit in better with the all-white-but-me classroom I faced every day. There are so many black women with the same/similar story. My natural hair is a blessing to me each and every day because it shows me the gift I had from God that I tried to hide for… Read more »
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[…] wake of backlash from a letter, sent to parents at Horizon Science Academy before being obtained by Black Girl Long Hair, which stated that “afro-puffs and small twisted braids, with or without rubber bands are NOT […]

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[…] via R7 e Black Girl With Long Hair […]

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[…] a place of public accommodation due to (her) sex and sexual orientation.” But an Ohio school added a prohibition against “Afro-puffs and small twisted braids with or without rubberbands” to their updated […]

Rona

This is disgusting! I am SHOCKED that this is even legal! This has got to stop! Please get this new “racist” dress code thrown out! UNBELIEVABLE!!!

imani
specifically calling them by their popular term “afro” right away makes this a biased race issue. Afro puff simply refers to how coarse& kinkier african am hair appears when in a ponytail. If they said “no ponytails” they know that means white girls couldn’t wear their flat laying hair in school either & god forbid! Bc its NOT abt the white ppls hairstyles. Once again its white america feeling uncomfortable abt our blackness.I can’t control how my cuticles Lay & shouldn’t have to! Its telling blk girls to get with the program and conform! Its insulting to think I shouldn’t… Read more »
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[…] On June 14, officials at Horizon Science Academy in Lorian sent a letter to parents, explaining the new dress code. Among other rules, the updated regulations said that “afro-puffs and small twisted braids, with or without rubber bands are NOT permitted.” […]

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[…] viewed as unkempt, they won’t likely be fired for making a political statement. The recent ban on afro puffs and braids at a school in Lorraine, Ohio was not targeted at white girls. The growing number of […]

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[…] site Black Girl Long Hair points out the dress code is unclear; do those rules apply just to boys and girls? If the rule is […]

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