Kentucky School Suspends Policy Banning Cornrows, Twists, and Dreadlocks

By Denisa R. Superville — July 29, 2016 2 min read
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A Louisville, Ky., high school has retreated from a dress code policy that would have banned cornrows, twists, and dreadlocks—hairstyles commonly worn by African-Americans.

The decision to suspend the dress code policy came on Friday, days after the mother of a Butler Traditional High School student publicized the policy on Twitter.

The policy also banned hairstyles that were “extreme, distracting or attention-getting.” In addition to prohibiting cornrows (which the document referred to as cornrolls), twists, and dreadlocks, Mohawks and two-toned hair were also no-nos. Boys were also expected to wear their hair at a “reasonable” length, no longer than the top of their collar, according to post.

Attica Scott, the parent, told the Courier-Journal that the policy was discriminatory against students who chose to wear their hair naturally.

“I don’t understand why we’re going to focus on something like natural hair styles when we should be focused on education,” Scott told the paper. “They specifically outlined hairstyles that are worn most by black kids. To me, this stinks of institutional racism.”

Scott’s Tweet prompted a number of responses, some of which questioned the policy’s legality.

The ACLU of Kentucky also weighed in.

At a hastily-called meeting on Friday, the school’s governing council suspended the policy.

In the wake of the backlash, superintendent Donna Hargens asked other school councils to examine their dress code policies, the Courier-Journal reported.

She said the district will provide guidance to schools “to ensure their policies are not obtrusive, do not conflict with board policy and most importantly do not infringe on the many cultures embraced across our school district,” according to the paper.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.