Texas superintendent allegedly tells grandma to cut grandson's hair or put him in a dress
Sept. 17, 2019
An East Texas school district is facing harsh criticism of their draconian rules for African American boys’ hair—and their response to families who challenge it.
Four-year-old Michael Trimble, called “Tink” by his friends and family, was reportedly excited for his very first day of “big kids” school a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, Tink’s grandmother, Randi Woodley, was soon called in to speak with the principal … about Tink’s hair, which is long.
The Tatum Independent School District (ISD) dress code states that “no ponytails, male buns, or puff balls are allowed on male students. Also, hair can't extend past the top of a collar.” CNN reports that Woodley then spoke with the Tatum ISD superintendent, where she argued that transgender students and girls were allowed to keep their hair long. Thus, Woodley reasoned, not allowing her grandson the same rights was discriminatory.
Woodley told CBS Austin that she was floored by the response: “The superintendent then gave me three options, he told me that I could either cut it, braid it and pin it up … or put my grandson in a dress and send him to school; and when prompted, my grandson must say he's a girl."
Woodley and others are now pushing back against this historically racist dress code, and the Tatum ISD school board now faces organized calls for changing the current status quo.
WKYT spoke with another Tatum ISD parent, Kambryn Cox, whose son’s dreadlocks have been the subject of school inspection: “My son came home, and said that, ‘Mom, I think there’s something wrong with my hair.” At a recent school board meeting, a teacher joined the fight for change, requesting an update. Additionally, other parents called the dress code an overreach and “wrong.” The Tatum ISD superintendent, Dr. J.P. Richardson, who suggested Tink wear a dress, was asked for comment, but only told local NBC news affiliate, KETK “not yet.”
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