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In Texas, a 4-year-old boy was banned from attending class because he has long hair. His mother, Jessica Oates, is outraged and thinks the dress code policy needs to be updated for the 21st century. The little boy Jabez Oates was not allowed to go to class on Tuesday when the Barbers Hill School District in Mont Belvieu, Texas told Jessica that her son’s long hair was not allowed within the school. But the mother refuses to cut her son’s hair, because it makes him happy. And she demands the school update their policy to allow a little boy to wear his hair how he likes.
Jessica is getting heard because she believes the school needs to update their policy and let the child learn.
“My son likes his hair. He doesn’t understand why he is not allowed in school over something so trivial,” Oates told InsideEdition.com.
The child was scheduled to ender pre-k. But he hasn’t cut his hair since he was born, so the school did not allow him into class.
At first Oates said the school said she needed to provide a reason why Jabez’s hair was long. They wanted it in writing that his hair was for religious or cultural reasons. And Jessica Oates was more than happy to provide that letter.
“When I went to enroll my child, I asked about the policy on hair. I was told my son would be allowed to keep his hair,” Oates said. “I was getting him all geared up for school. I took him to school and it was no big deal.”
Jabez does have a cultural reason for wearing his hair long. He is part Cocopah Indian and in his culture, hair is viewed as strength and kept long in men.
But when she provided the letter of explanation, the school administrators told her that it wasn’t good enough. And then she received a call saying that even though Jabez is part Cocopah, his long hair would not be allowed at all – according to strict school board policy.
The school’s policy made be outdated but it does say that boys need to have their hair cut above their eyes, ears and neck. And although Jabez has cultural reasons for his long hair, the Barbers Hill School District has no sympathy for that and plans to uphold their strict policy.
“Our local elected board has an established policy based on community expectations, and Barber Hills administration will continue to implement the said policy,” the statement reads.
Oates is fighting back. She sees the school policy as a form of discrimination against Native Americans.
“On Monday, I tried to take to my son to school, and I put his hair in a bun and I tied it with a little black hair tie. They said that the black hair tie was inappropriate and they would not allow him to go,” Oates said.
She plans to fight this outdated policy.
She added: “I believe the policy is sexist because they have no hair policy for girls. I am really angry. The fact that my son can’t go to school angers me. It’s outrageous and outdated.”
Do you agree it should be updated?
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