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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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Elliott Mason

That “repeal the ban” letter doesn’t actually repeal the ban. It just engages in a classic “I’m so sorry that you took offense to this totally normal thing we did, why are you yelling at us so unreasonably?!?” defense without making any statement that shows they understand what happened at all.

Akilah Arthur

This is what happens when you have no poc decision-makers on your staff. I can’t imagine that someone with kinky hair would’ve signed off on this. But this specific issue aside– no fake glasses? no multicolored wrist bans? no long hair for boys? Lawd, let these kids breath!

Kim Ber Lee

Our hair grows up and out because it is our crown.

As for the school lying that this was a draft copy, it is only stated as such because without any backlash it would have remained that way. Whites are always going to find fault in our existence and everything about us. Always fight for your right to be you.

Somalia Gullette

What knocks me out is that this school has the word “science” in its name. Science studies (among other things) Biology & Chemistry. These two branches of science would tell you that natural hair is not a style. It comes from genetics. Quite frankly, if a “science academy” is that stupid, maybe our kids shouldn’t attend that school.

Helena_Handbasket
Honestly, I’m not sure anybody’s kids should attend that school. Not having any black kids around just means that the ones aren’t black will be more susceptable to picking up on other people’s bullshit ideas about black people. The two cities I’ve lived in the most are Omaha and Colorado Springs. While Omaha didn’t have official “Jim Crow” laws, conspiracies by realators kept all the African Americans in the North End of town and all the immigrants in the South East. Colorado Springs, on the otherhand, due to expanding mostly with military, has everyone living pretty much mixed up where… Read more »
CYW

Draft version? They didn’t send home draft version. They sent the FINAL version. Nice try.

Jessica Cutler Saunders
Jessica Cutler Saunders

This is discrimination! Who do we call to raise hell on this.

Honey

Call the administration from 2013, when this happened.

Jennifer

I don’t know much about different races and the struggles each individual goes through in order to be presentable in public. Maybe the real problem is too much use of products in order to get an end result? What would happen if schools required everyone, staff, teachers and students to show up without makeup or products in their hair?

Jocelyn Butler

Our hair is naturally puffy. So, without products we can’t achieve the flat, straight hair they want. The school is asking children of color to put products and do unnatural things to their hair to be perceived as “normal” or professional

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[…] cultures and spaces. For example, there are numerous tales of black women and girls who have been criticised for or prevented from wearing natural hairstyles to work and school, such as braids, twists or afro-puffs. While it […]

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[…] as I have to keep reading stories about schools expelling Black girls for wearing natural hair or banning african hairstyles or the military banning braids and afros…I cannot take the “hair struggles,” of a […]

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[…] when Blacks dress in a way deemed acceptable by White society, they’re still ostracized for the texture of their hair, or the way they spell their names, or even their hand gestures. These things […]

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Ciara

People hair is natural curly no products needed and do you go to work without makeup or hair products.

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[…] Ohio school bans afro puffs and braids […]

Melissa F
The parents of this girl are complete and utter idiots for styling her hair to resemble Minnie mouse. Who in the right mind would do this to a child? A ditzy person no doubt. And this in not a natural hairstyle, Jujudollie, It’s a “style hairstyle” not a “natural” hairstyle. So get your facts right before you start squeezing designer words through that tiny provincial brain of yours. Just like this girls, you too have no class or culture, All you do is try to sound intelligent by repeating what similars screamed out before you. The race card is getting… Read more »
putthemintheirplace

Are you an idiot or are you just not familiar with other races?if you saw a white girl with 2 ponytails would you say its not natural?That girl NATURALLY has an afro and has her hair in two ponytails.her hair is not styled that way,it is naturally big!Would you rather the child come to school with just an afro??I’m sorry that the only way her hair will lay down like a white girl’s hair is with chemicals/heat which IS NOT natural.Keep your mouth closed if you have nothing educated to say.

Naturallybeautiful

All this comment did was make me laugh . It’s funny how people can be do ignorant. Honestly it is a natural hairstyle and if you don’t know anything about natural hair I suggest you not say anything. What was she supposed to do straighten her hair all the time for the school. That would totally destroy her BEAUTIFUL hair.

Ebony

Melissa please don’t talk about anything you know nothing about.

missDD86

Get off this page you racist, oppressive piece of crap. No one needs you here, idiot.

AuroraMoon

*face-palms* This IS a natural hairstyle for black girls. I’ve grown up around black girls on my block, so I’ve personally seen for myself how their hair just grows outwards and up instead of growing flat. The afro is what you get if their hair is left untreated and not doused in chemicals.
And shut your mouth about that little girl! All little black girls are instantly ten times cuter with afro puffs, in my opinion.

Jocelyn Butler

The same parent that would send their kid to school with pigtails you idiot

Tracie Actress Phelps
Tracie Actress Phelps

Black girls have been wearing this hairstyle since I was little. I am 47 now. And It is a natural hairstyle. When our hair is chemical- free, it puffs out like that! WE as AFRICAN_AMERICANS GOT OUR FACTS STRAIGHT. If you have a problem with it, Go TALK TO GOD ABOUT IT! HE CREATED our HAIR! CREATED BY THE KING HIMSELF! ROYAL HAIR!

Brian Banks

Well let’s be perfectly honest here. The hairstyle is over the top and the school is right to make the recommendation the did. And racism has nothing to do with it, The rule applies to all students who sport unacceptable hairstyles. A school is a place to learn, not a fashion show.

And for the record Jujudollie, Stop bringing the race card into this, As i’ve already stated race has got nothing to do with it. It’s the ditzy mother who allows this girl to attend school like this.

society

Alright.Pig tails not allowed.1 big ponytail will also get titled as inappropriate so not allowed.A bun will probably be poofy without heat so im guessing not allowed.Braids not allowed.SMALL braids with or without rubberbands are not allowed even though theres no way on earth this is distracting.What would you suggest as an hairstyle for girls with her hair type?please enlighten me.

Alix Kayy
I’m guessing your not black or you would understand. That’s how some black peoples natural hair grows, my hair included. It grows out instead of down, or it grows kinky and coily and all over the place. We cant tell our hair to lie straight like other peoples hair. If I were to put my hair in a ponytail it would be puffy. I don’t have to tease it or use hair spray, that’s just how it is NATURALLY. Braids are a protective style that is a part of my culture. Black people use braids to protect our hair because… Read more »
missDD86
Shut your punk ass, racist ass up. Not even sure why you are on this page, you bigoted piece of shit. I would NEVER want my hair to be straight, stringly and doggish like that mop you call hair on your head. There is a reason your ugly ass hair grows straight down toward hell while ours grow up toward the heavens. We are kings and queens you fucking Neanderthal. You have NO right to tell me that the hair that NATURALLY grows from my head is unacceptable. By who’s standards? Euro-centric standards? Fuck your standards! We don’t need you… Read more »
Dora B

I know I’m 2 years late Brian but if you were standing in front me right now I would punch you in the face for this racist ignorant post!

Jujudollie

Why is there a war against natural black hair? This is shameless, blatant, obscene racial predjudice and discrimination.
Natural black hair = black power. Keep fighting. The racists will never win this war.

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[…] Ohio School Bans Afro Puffs and Braids This story gained national news coverage, but we actually broke it here first on BGLH after […]

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[…] Ohio School Bans Afro Puffs and Braids This story gained national news coverage, but we actually broke it here first on BGLH after […]

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[…] dress codes to disproportionately penalize children with Africanized, kinkier hair. Last June, Ohio’s Lorain Horizon Science Academy earned outrage after sending home letters that read, “Afro-puffs and small twisted braids, with or without […]

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[…] […]

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[…] I have to admit, it is disheartening to publish another piece like this. Just months after an Ohio school banned afro puffs and 7-year-old Tiana Parker faced constant harassment from school administrators for her locs, […]

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[…] I have to admit, it is disheartening to publish another piece like this. Just months after an Ohio school banned afro puffs and 7-year-old Tiana Parker faced constant harassment from school administrators for her locs, […]

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[…] I have to admit, it is disheartening to publish another piece like this. Just months after an Ohio school banned afro puffs and 7-year-old Tiana Parker faced constant harassment from school administrators for her locs, […]

ciku

weird how in Africa if we saw that little girl with the lovely afro puffs, everyone would go “wow, she has lovely hair”.
in my country, a lot of the public schools ban relaxers and hair extensions on girls up to the age of 14, which is why a lot of girls here rock afro puffs and natural hair braids/twists here.
I think its sad for anything natural to be deemed “unacceptable” or “inappropriate”

Blackpower

I am so on the progress we are making so far. There are white people out there that secretly see how beautiful black hair is and just want us to continue to wear wigs and weaves to look like them. Why would you tell someone that they cannot wear their hair they way God has made it for them? this baffles me. Our hair, is a political statement…wow

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[…] Horizon Science Academy in Lorain, Ohio issued a new dress code this month. In the letter— obtained by the blog Black Girl Long Hair — a lot of the things not permitted make sense: No […]

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[…] Check out the story originally posted in BGLH […]

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[…] 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 […]

Arnold Johnson
Also ban white girls and others with long straight hair from wearing “pony tails”, “pig tails”, “buns”, “Shirley Temple curls”. But you all know this a social mind control issue. The outward expression is evidence that the ego/mind hasn’t been fully captured, channeled or trained according to the likes of some. Uniformity and conformity can backfire. The emphasis of school should not be the indoctrination of what to think, but and especially with black students, how to use the mind to think, to reason (oh, that’s new). Parents should resist living out their creativity through their children’s appearance knowing full… Read more »
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[…] emergency, but because of the way her hair was styled. I always seem to have a hope when I read these types of stories that it just couldn’t be true. Approximately 3 months ago, an Ohio school decided to ban Afro […]

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[…] emergency, but because of the way her hair was styled. I always seem to have a hope when I read these types of stories that it just couldn’t be true. Approximately 3 months ago, an Ohio school decided to ban […]

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[…] Black Girl Long Hair article on Ohio issue: http://blackgirllonghair.com/2013/06/ohio-school-bans-afro-puffs-and-braids/ […]

Jin
Even if this was only meant for male students, it still just shows the level of ignorance that still exists about this sort of thing. Evidently, certain people still think you can just “undo” an afro or braids and the hair will hang flat like white hair types, which is not the case. (I suspect straight black weaves with a texture pretty similar to natural hair have something to do with this misconception, I’ve known a couple teachers who just assume that such styles are natural.) We need to be educating people about these things, people need to learn that… Read more »
Jaylah Jefferson

I had to sit back and think about this and this is my conclusion. Threat! In my head being black equals being a threat. Not conforming to America’s cultural standard is threatening. I believe that more and more black women are becoming more open to being natural and are encouraging their children. I also believe people are beginning to take notice and again it’s threatening and incomprehensible that more and more blacks are becoming comfortable in their own hair

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[…] isn’t the first story of its kind. Earlier this year a school in Ohio banned afros and braids in a new dress code (they later rescinded the policy after public outcry). In 2012, Hampton […]

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[…] Did they learn nothing from the school than tried to ban the afro puff, AKA the humble ponytail? Ohio School Bans Afro Puffs and Braids *UPDATE!* | Black Girl with Long Hair And apparently this time the school is run by African Americans Tulsa school sends girl home over […]

Jeyonaka

Well it looks like to me if they didn’t want blacks to wear they hair a certain way then they should have segregated the school instead of trying to make blacks look white so they can fit in the white society.they already hate the way we look,dress,now our hair,might as well just go back to hating us all the way and segregate everything else instead of say ignorant shit a then want to apologize about…!!!It looks like to me they want an race war!!!

Jin

Jeyonaka, these people at the school are so ignorant that I’m embarrassed. Even as a white boy I know the rule is crazy, my sister is half black and I do her hair in styles like this all the time, they’re cute and practical and pretty much the only styles she can wear… This is shameful, I totally wish I could yell at whatever idiot decided to make this rule.

What does this school think the little girls’ hair should look like instead? Are kindergartners now expected to wear straight weaves? It’s ridiculous.

motherofone
Seriously. I wish this blogger would either update the info on this post or delete it entirely. The rule was aimed towards the male student body. It WAS NOT meant to target little girls, any girls. Apparently they are having a problem with a couple of young African American MALE students. The school board is trying to get the student body to hold a certain standard; trying to get the students to emulate a college preparatory school. YES they should then also state that all MALE students, not just African American students should have their hair a certain length. It… Read more »
d
men or female it is still sexist and racial because if you said that the letter is meant for young black male students. So even if the interviewer was black so what he still is targeting a certain race and an a certain sex. It still is wrong either way you put it. And in college you have no rules on how to wear your hair. They are very wrong for writing this letter and they know what they doing. Those administrators are not dumb they don’t like the black community to wear there hair natural. And two kids doesn’t… Read more »
E in CT

Well going unasked is “what is well groomed for a young black boy?” I have attended and taught at several elite prep schools and the college bound boy’s looks and hair have run the gamut. Have you ever seen the students at Harvard or Howard or Williams? How about we try to raise the kids’ SAT scores and leave their hair alone?

Michael J.
Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey

Let the congregation say, “Amen!” Teach our children to out-think The Man, not out-preppie him.

motherofone

Please do some research into this topic. The school board has African American members that support the rule. They helped to draft the school dress policy. Google the school and the topic of hair. It will show you why they tried to establish the hair rule in the first place. It’s been repealed. There is no issue here. The blogger is just trying to get people pissed off and fighting each other…via misinformation, omission of the facts, trusting that the reader doesn’t bother to investigate the facts before responding…And I think we all know it’s working

Clara

The rule right above that one has an addendum to show that it only applies to boys, while the puffs and braids one does not…so if indeed it only applies to boys, why doesn’t it?

Jaylah Jefferson

Even if they are black it wouldn’t matter. I would see them as sellouts to their own community. Self hatred a byproduct of racism is just as wrong and the worst kind of display. So motherophone, with due respect, the interpretation of the article I read felt like a stab through my heart and your explanation of the events was the knife twisting.

EdeRock

This is what you call blatant racial harrassment. Poor kid.

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[…] Read more about the story and  the official letters  here: http://blackgirllonghair.com/2013/06/ohio-school-bans-afro-puffs-and-braids/ […]

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