Oklahoma Charter School Will Now Allow Afros & Dreadlocks, Should Tiana Return?

September 10, 2013  |  


Source: Fox 23

Our hearts collectively broke last week when we watched 7 year old Tiana Parker cry after being sent home because her school deemed her locs “unpresentable.”

Before little Tiana was sent home, Deborah Brown Community, a charter school  in Tulsa, Oklahoma, had already enacted a policy describing afros, mohawks and dreadlocks as “faddish” styles. Naturally, when the news of Tiana’s mistreatment spread, many stated that there was nothing faddish about styles like the afro or wearing one’s hair in dreadlocks. Clearly, the school was either out of touch, completely culturally ignorant, discriminatory or a mixture of all three.

After Tiana’s story  received national attention, from the likes of the American Civil Liberties Union and professor/news correspondent, Melissa Harris Perry, who wrote Tiana a beautiful and encouraging letter, the school decided to review the policy once again.

Yesterday, after a two-hour board meeting, the Deborah Brown Community, a school comprised of 98 percent African American student enrollment, decided to officially change their policy. References to personal hair styles have been removed and according to the Tulsa Fox affiliate, has been replaced with this:

“Each student and the parents/guardians of the student are responsible for the personal hygiene of the student. The administration reserves the right to contact the parents/guardians regarding any personal hygiene issues that it believes causes a risk to the health, safety, and welfare of the student, his or her classmates and faculty or staff or detracts from the educational environment.”

Board Chairman, Kenneth James told Fox 23: “It was never our intent to cause any harm to Tiana or her family by our actions. If harm did occur, we apologize.”

Tiana’s parents, who have already removed her from Deborah Brown Community,  said they would still like for Tiana’s former educators to issue her an official apology.

Sounds fair, if you ask me.

While it’s great that the school amended this policy, it’s alarming that a school with 98% African American student enrollment could be so unaware of the discriminatory nature of their policy. It makes me wonder if the administration reflects the student and parent population they serve. So, with that in mind, if the school officially apologizes to Tiana, do you think her parents should send her back t

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  • Tootie

    This school should be ashamed of theirselves. This young lady, a straight-A student, was not bothering anybody with her dreadlocks. I could see them putting a ban on odd colored hair or certain hair accessories, but hair styles? That is just simply racist. I am a black woman and I feel like if white people are allowed to wear their hair just as it grows from their roots, then why can’t we? This is another example of how racism is still very well alive and does not discriminate against age. If I were Tianna’s parent, I would not send her back.

    • JMO

      The crazy thing about this story is that the staff/administration are majority black. A case of self hate. I’m not sure what they were going for with banning dreadlocks & Afros because nothing about those are a distraction to me.


    the dumbest things concerning race still go on in 2013…instead of worrying about african american hairstyles they need to be praying that one of their white kids dosnt decide to shoot up the school this year

  • SoKali

    If her friends are at the previous school I would let her go back only for that reason.

  • ItsRoni

    I would not send my child back to a school that had treated her so badly. I would, however, be glad that the attention forced the school to change its policy of discrimination for the sake of others who would attend.

  • Meeeeelah

    No need to hold a grudge. Send that baby back to that school and let her shake them dreds in front of the entire administration. Let her feel victorious!! …this, of course, after the apologize directly to her…