A six-year-old student in central Florida was denied admittance to A Book’s Christian Academy earlier this week for having locs. Clinton Stanley, Jr. was sent home after being told his hair was in violation of the school’s dress policy, which states that all male students’ “hair must be tapered cut, off the collar and ears. There are to be no dreads.”
His father, Clinton Stanley, Sr., took to social media to share his disbelief in an emotional Facebook live. In the early part of the video, the father asks if he could plait or braid up his son’s hair. A school staff member can be heard “I don’t think so.” Stanley, Sr. subsequently asks for the papers to unenroll his son.
“He’s ready to go to school but he can’t…The first day of school and I’ve got to withdraw my son—that’s crazy,” he said in the video. “That is very disrespectful and bias. I should have been told this months ago.”
The school staff states it shared the handbook with Stanley upon enrollment. Stanley denies ever receiving. The school’s founder John Book told news station WESH2 that because it’s a private school, he can set the school’s rules.
“You can see my school,” Book said. “It’s probably 95% black. Obviously, I’m not a racist.” He continued saying, “In our school our song is ‘Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World’…we try to uphold certain biblical standards and certain degrees of order that enable us to maintain a school.”
The school, however, does receive public funding. Stanley enrolled his son in the school because it was the nearest school which accepted the Florida-based Step-up scholarship. The scholarship, rooted in the “promise of equal educational opportunity,” provides lower income families access to private education or higher performing schools in other districts.
This is not the first time a student with natural hair, braids or locs in school has been discriminated against.Two years ago, a federal court ruled you could be legally discriminated against for wearing locs. Last year, another Florida school told a student to get her natural hair “done” and a Boston school gave two sisters detention for wearing boxing braids.
A petition has since been formed to abolish school policies in Orange County, Fl. which show bias to natural hair.