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When we think of hair discrimination, we often assume it’s relegated to professional or academic spaces. But in America, Blackness is policed anywhere and everywhere.

And reportedly, a cheerleader in Kansas learned that lesson after she was removed from her cheerleading squad for refusing to remove her bonnet during practice.

According to The Kansas City Star, Talyn Jefferson, refused to remove the bonnet for fear that her nearly 3-foot-long braids might hit her teammate in the face.

Jefferson, a junior, was on the squad at Ottawa University, a private Baptist University in Ottawa, Kansas before her coach kicked her off the team.

Jefferson said her refusal to remove the bonnet caused her coach, Casey Jamerson, launched into a racist rant, telling Jefferson, “You shouldn’t have gotten 7 foot long hair then!” Jefferson said Jamerson told her that her box braids were a hindrance to her performance, were not collegiate and she never should have gotten them in the first place.

In a tweet about the confrontation, Jefferson said the coach even offered a couple of microaggresions, saying: “I do Black people’s hair. I’m a cosmetologist! I lived with a black girl for five years. I do understand what it’s like to have hair like that.”

Eventually, Jefferson said the coach used an expletive before telling her to leave practice. Later, she learned she had been removed from the squad all together.

Jefferson said, “I got kicked off because I was standing up for myself against microaggressive comments that the coach made toward me, that made me and others very uncomfortable. Instead of the university addressing the fact that the comments were out of line and made me uncomfortable and the coach should have apologized, their solution was to kick me off instead.”

Rumors started to circulate that Jefferson had been expelled from the school but in order to quell those she said she withdrew “due to personal financial issues.”

Officials from Ottawa University state that Jefferson, who has been on the squad for two years, was removed from the team but it “had absolutely nothing to do with her hairstyle” and was not related to the incident at cheerleading practice.

They said, “…no student has ever been sanctioned or expelled for wearing box braids, bonnets, or any other hairstyle.”

Jefferson denies the school’s claims. She told The Star, “They claim I got kicked off because I defy authority and I have anger issues, but like I’ve said, that is not true. I have no type of misconduct issues at that school.”

A spokesman for the university claims the incident is still being investigated. Meanwhile, the coach has not responded to The Star’s request for comment.

While some on the predominately white cheerleading squad are taking up for coach Jamerson, others have corroborated Jefferson’s story, as the disagreement took place in front of the team.

Jefferson told The Star, she is in the process of transferring schools.

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