A fundamentalist Christian school in Florida banned a 6-year-old because of his deadlocks and now that school is facing a lawsuit.
C.J. StanleyJr., who wore the dreads through kindergarten and was set to start first-grade at Book Christian Academy in Apopka, Fla. But the child and his father, Clinton Stanley, were stopped by a reverend, who said, ” ‘Take him home and take him to a haircut,” Stanley told the The Washington Post in August. C.J. was eventually banned from the school due to his locs.
Now, C.J.’s father is getting help from the ACLU and the NAACP in a lawsuit against the school, alleging in part, that C.J. was discriminated against due to his race, the father wrote in a blog post at the ACLU. The suit asks the Florida Department of Education to hold A Book’s Christian Academy accountable.
“As a father, I’d tried to shield him from racism for as long as I could. But we had just been turned away in humiliating fashion from A Book’s Christian Academy in Apopka, Florida, on the first day of classes,” Stanley wrote.
“The school’s administrators, led by John Book, barred C.J. from entering the building because of his locs,” he said. “They treated him like a leper, and then they gave me an ultimatum: my son’s hairstyle or his schooling.
“I was bewildered that the all-white staff in charge of a predominantly Black school would have the audacity to shame something so closely tied to Black identity,” he continued.
Sue Book, the school’s administrator and wife of the school’s founder, said the family knew the rules when they enrolled in the school. She says they were given a copy of the parent handbook that stated the policy.
“All boys hair must be a tapered cut, off the collar and ears. There are to be no dreads, Mohawks, designs, unnatural color, or unnatural designs.”
Stanley claimed to have never seen the book before that day. He goes on to say in the blog post that this has taught an unfortunate lesson to his son about race.
“I won’t stand by as schools like Book’s Christian Academy financially benefit from Black student enrollment while showing a disdain for Black students who bring their whole selves to class,” he says. “There is something terribly wrong with grooming codes that don’t respect the cultures of their student bodies.
“The problem is not my son’s hair,” he continued. “The problem is a school policy that doesn’t accept my son, and others like him, for who they are.”