TATUM — Parents and others spoke Monday at the Tatum ISD board meeting about part of the district’s dress code policy that they say is gender biased and racially discriminatory.
The uproar over the hair guidelines in the policy began when one parent says she was told her 5-year-old son couldn’t wear his hair long in dreadlocks.
Some of those attending the meeting held signs that read, “My hair is my crown” and “No one is free when others are oppressed.”
Edwina “Randi” Woodley’s 4-year-old grandchild, Michael Trimble, attends Head Start in Tatum ISD. She has legal custody of the child.
During a meet the teacher event, she said she was called into the principal’s office to talk about Michael’s hair.
Woodley said she was told her grandson’s hair is distracting and his hair style must be changed to comply with the district’s dress code.
“I was just always taught to embrace — embrace my identity, embrace who we are,” Woodley said.
She said the message she wanted to get across to the school board is beyond the issue of hair.
“I’m trying to teach him that’s who you are. God created you and you can feel good about it,” Woodley said. “You’re loved, you’re beautifully made.”
According to the Tatum ISD dress code posted online, “student’s hair shall be clean and well groomed at all times and shall not obstruct vision. No extreme style or color (neon, etc…) Only natural hair color shall be allowed. No symbols, letters, or extreme designs cut in the hair shall be permitted. No ponytails, ducktails, rat-tails, male bun or puffballs shall be allowed on male students. All male hair of any type shall not extend below the top of a t-shirt collar, as it lays naturally.”
The district did not respond to CBS19’s request for comment.
The News-Journal attempted to reach Superintendent J.P. Richardson by phone and left voicemails Tuesday and Wednesday. The district did not return the calls.