Lawsuit over Black student’s hair extensions moves to federal court

Faith Fennidy
Faith Fennidy was taken out of class at Christ the King Parish School for violating the school’s hair policy. (Fennidy/Facebook video)

A lawsuit charging that a Catholic school in Louisiana and the Archdiocese of New Orleans violated a black girl’s rights by barring her from school because she wore a braided hairstyle with extensions, has moved on to federal court.

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The family of 11-year-old Faith Fennidy allege that their daughter’s constitutional rights were infringed when she was taken out of class at Christ the King Parish School in Terrytown and accused of violating school’s hair policy on extensions, the New Orleans Advocate reports.

Fennidy’s brother posted a heart-wrenching Facebook post and accompanying video of the devastated young girl leaving her school in tears. The post immediately went viral.

“I hate that I have to post this. But this just isn’t right. This is an issue we tried to resolve with the school, but they won’t compromise at all. My sister Faith and many little black girls wear extensions. She’s been attending this school for two years and wearing extensions. Over the summer the school has sneakily added in a policy, that no extensions, clip-ins or weaves are allowed. Faith got a notice on the first day of class and it’s ridiculous that these schools that we are PAYING for, will go in and make policies without consulting or trying to figure out how this will affect your life or your child’s life,” Steven Fennidy wrote.

He continued: “Extensions make the hair easier to maintain. It allows my sister to have access to the swimming pool without having to get her hair Re-done every night. How do you make a policy without even having a discussion. It’s because you don’t care and it’s just one more barrier to entry for black people. This decision is going to affect black children more than white children. Please share this video. All the principal could say was, ‘They’re swinging it and things like that…’ My entire middle and high school career I was in private school I sat behind a million white girls who would play in their hair. Re-do their pony tails a million times a day. Nothing was ever said. She kept saying the issue is it’s not their natural hair. It’s a style that we are not allowing. It’s not uniform. WOW. This is Christ The King Middle School in Gretna, Louisiana. This has all just been very upsetting.”

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In fact, another family as well as the Fennidy family is included in the suit that says the policy is discriminatory because it prevented the girls from attending class.

Christ the King Parish School says it has since rescinded the policy.

A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 18.