An eight-year-old third grader in Michigan was told she could not participate in school photos because administrators took issue with her braids which were intermixed with the color red.
The student, a young Black girl named Marian Scott was sent back to class, while her parents who were informed that their child violated the school’s picture day policy at a later time. Marian attends the Paragon Charter Academy in Jackson, Michigan.
Marian reportedly cried after the encounter because she felt singled out from her classmates, of course prompting an emotional reaction from her family.
“All of this is uncalled for, they didn’t even call us,” her father Doug Scott said in an interview with WILX. “Marian didn’t leave the house, go on the street and get this done on her own, no – she’s 8 years old, we did this ourselves in our own home and there’s no way I felt like this would happen.”
According to the school’s policy, children are not allowed to wear ” extreme hairstyles, and the preferred styles need to have more “natural tones,” or be more “conservative.” Anything outside of that range is not permitted.
Scott further inquired about why his child was allowed back into the classroom if she held a style that was deemed inappropriate.
“If she’s not a disruption to the class, then why is she a disruption to the picture?” he asked.
According to the school’s policy, students are given one week to correct their hair if they are found to be in violation. On Monday Marian returned to school without the red hair in her braids. The family plans to have her photo retaken on November 12, WILX reports.
Paragon Academy released a statement to NBC News saying, “We take great care to ensure our families are well-informed about this policy, and also work closely with students and their parents if there’s a concern.”
The school’s policy leaves it open to a variety of interpretation when there are white administrators making decisions regarding what is deemed an appropriate hairstyle for students. Without full grasp, compassion, or an education on Black culture, moments like what transpired with this young girl will continue to happen. And she will undoubtedly suffer some form of trauma in relation to her hair.
As we know, Eurocentric beauty standards are often held against Black children and begins at elementary school age. The discrimination continues all the way into adulthood and even on the federal level, as we see several states have adapted anti-discrimination policies in regards to the Black hairstyles we hold so near and dear to the culture.