The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is calling for the state to rescind discriminatory student hair policies, following the uproar over a 6-year-old boy who was turned away from a Florida private school in August.
The child was wearing dreadlocks.
The organization sent a letter to the Florida Department of Education earlier this month, “asking it to take action against schools that ban students from sporting dreadlocks, braids and other traditionally African-American hairstyles,” according to HuffPost.
The media outlet referenced schools participating in Florida’s new Hope Scholarship Program, which provides publicly-financed scholarships to students who have been bullied, attacked or otherwise harmed, and can transfer to another private or public school.
“However, many of the schools that participate in this program either ban LGBTQ students or have strict hair policies that disproportionately affect African-American students,” the HuffPost reported.
The 6-year-old boy was attempting to enroll in a Christian academy in Florida that doesn’t participate in the Hope Scholarship Program but does participate in other Florida voucher programs, according to HuffPost.
Such voucher programs ban discrimination based on race, but hair policies “can perpetuate a more subtle type of discrimination,” according to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund letter obtained by HuffPost.
The letter also calls for creating new hair policies, with the help of community members, and cultural competency training for school faculty and staff.