On Wednesday, Pasadena, California high school students protested a policy that bans wearing durags, something they say administrators associate with being a part of a gang.
But the students at John Muir High School say durags are instead part of Black culture and is worn as a way to keep the waves in the hair in check, The Pasadena Star-News reports.
“The main reason we protest today is because we’re trying to stop the criminalization of black men on campus,” senior Reggie Myles of the Black Student Union said in an interview with the paper.
Principal Lawton Gray, who told the paper he wore durags as a teen and they should be used to sleep in, pushed back on the assertion that school officials affiliate the wave caps with gang activity.
“The administration’s feeling is that, once again, durags are not to be worn at school,” he told the newspaper. “It does not have to do with gang affiliation. It has to do with the values we have for how we present ourselves at school.”
According to the Pasadena Unified dress code “hats, caps and other head coverings shall not be worn indoors.”
At least 100 or more students walked out of classes in protest chanting, “I am not dangerous.” They collectively did what’s called “wave checks” as students took off their caps to check to see their waves.
Students reportedly believe a double standard exists since women are allowed to wear head scarves.