Xavier University students launch campaign to support natural hair after teen is harassed at her high school

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

Xavier University students launched a campaign to foster understanding that supports students of color and their natural hair, NOLA reports.

The university’s Mister and Miss Xavier joined the Student Government Association to launch the “I am not my hair” online movement to flood the internet with photos and stories about the experiences of students of color who are often sidelined because of their hairstyle choices and even pet like an animal by those seeking to touch their hair.

At issue is stories like the one of a girl who attended a New Orleans, Louisiana area, private school Christ the King Elementary, which banned a 6th grader Black girl from attending because she rocked a braided hairstyle saying it violated the schools no “extensions, wigs, hairpieces of any kind” policy.

A video spread rapidly across social media showing a tearful Faith Fennidy, 11, after she was removed from class.

Her mother, Montrelle Fennidyfiled a lawsuit alongside Toyonita Parquet, whose daughter Tyrielle Davis has also not been allowed to return to the school because of her hairstyle. According to the suit, the school’s new “natural hair” policy resulted in the girls’ being harassed over their braided hair.

“It just goes to show people are still discriminatory towards each other even if it is something a simple as hair. They’re still finding a way to treat someone differently,” said Kelsey Green, the 82nd Miss Xavier. Green said the movement supports students and professionals who have come under fire for their natural hair. Often targeted are styles like dreadlocks, afros and braids.

Then there’s the story of a six-year-old dressed impeccably in his uniform for his first day of school was turned away at the door of a Florida Christian School and told he couldn’t attend because his dreadlocks didn’t fit the dress code.

Tia Smith, head of Xavier’s Mass Communication department, said they want the school to really address the problems. Smith is leading research that centers on media representations including women, gender, race and sexuality.

“You’re not out here alone, it’s not a lonely battle that you’re fighting. We have your back and we got ya’ll,” Smith said.

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