Oklahoma state legislatures issued statements last week after a charter school in Tulsa received nation-wide backlash for their policy prohibiting hairstyles such as “dreadlocks, afros, mohawks and other faddish styles.”
Now, state representatives confirm that the they are in the beginning stages of establishing a team to review the policy.
“We are working to bring the school administrators and board members together with the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus members to coordinate a review of these policies,” said state Rep. Kevin Matthews, according to KFOR-TV.
“Although direct legislative action is not an option of addressing the issue in the short term, school policies can be addressed, reviewed, or changed by the Deborah Brown Community School’s internal board,” he added.
A petition calling for the school to publicly apologize to Parker and her family has already amassed over 20,000 signatures. It also requests that the charter school change their dress code or have their contract terminated.
“Though it’s not clear what other styles the school might consider faddish, the fact remains that two of the hairstyles spelled out as being unacceptable in this school’s policy are worn almost exclusively by African[-]Americans with natural hair,” the petition reads. “It might as well say that black girls must have their hair chemically straightened or covered with a weave in order to pass muster.”
Although the school has yet to release an official apology to the family, State Sen. Jabar Shumate reassures residents that the emotional toll the incident has taken on Parker and family has not been ignored.
“Our hearts go out to the parents and family of this 7-year-old promising student,” he said. “We don’t want any child to feel like their educational opportunities are being infringed upon.”
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