By Maiysha Kai via https://theglowup.theroot.com
As children returned to school this fall, new teachers and classmates weren’t the only things that greeted some students. More than one story surfaced of children being turned away, or sent home from school, because of culturally-specific hairstyles like braids or dreadlocks. One such child was six-year-old Clinton Stanley, Jr., whose story went viral when he was denied his first day at A Book Christian Academy in Apopka, Fla., because his dreadlocks were deemed non-compliant with the school’s dress code.
A Book Christian Academy is only one of many private evangelical schools in Florida enacting this type of policy. Many of the schools participate in the Hope Scholarship program, Florida’s new school voucher program. (A Book Academy is not part of the voucher program but does benefit from government funding.) While the publicly-funded scholarship program was, ironically, implemented to help students escape bullying in public schools, an investigation by the Huffington Post revealed that as many as 20 percent of the participating schools ban students with natural or braided styles, citing strict policies on appearance.
Rightly concerned about the deeply racist undertones of such policies, on Oct. 2, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund sent a letter (pdf) to the Florida Department of …