At Teleos Preparatory Academy, in Phoenix, Arizona, there are rules. Just like in thousands of other school systems, they have a strict dress code.
Guidelines that keep kids in their proper uniforms, not showing too much skin and keeping themselves put together and clean all have a place in Teleos Prep.
But what about hair? One mother made the decision to remove her son due to one guideline that seemed unfair.
Brittany Anderson received a phone call from Teleos Prep recently, telling her that her son had broken the dress code policy. She couldn’t figure out why until the staff member informed her that it was his hair.
Anderson’s seventh grade son, Nasir, had worn braids to school. Unfortunately, braided hair styles on boys were prohibited.
“If the hair is maintained, what’s the problem?” she asked, adding that a hairstyle wouldn’t keep him from learning. But the school stood by its policy.
The Teleos Prep handbook spelled out the hair policy for boys who attend: “No shaved heads, Mohawks, rat’s tails, pony tails, or braids,” it stated. Anderson admitted that she had not noticed the policy in the school handbook.
According to Anderson, Nasir had been wearing his hair in braids since school began. Her frustration comes from the reprimand now, after months have passed and no one seemed to have a problem with it earlier.
“If [the school] would have pointed that out to me earlier in the year, then I would have nipped it in the bud and not let him grow his hair out,” she said. Still, she wanted to challenge the school and its handbook.
“Where’s my son’s individuality? At this point, my son, he feels like it’s his fault and it’s not his fault,” said Anderson. She did the only thing that she felt was right and pulled her son from the school.
The incident has left some in the community wondering, when does a dress code go too far and strip away a child’s personal identity? Also the question arose as to why braids might be okay for the girls in the school and not the boys.
The school system, Great Hearts Academies, stood by its decision.
“We take great care in fairly and consistently upholding our policies for all students,” they wrote in a statement.
“We understand parents have a choice about where their children attend school, and some may not agree with our dress code policy, which is certainly their right.”
Anderson hopes that by taking a stand and removing her son from the school, she might bring awareness to the need for change.
Uniforms, good ascendance, and good behavior are all things she accepted. But she won’t let a school decide how her child will wear his hair.
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