Christ the King

Screenshot via video

In the Legislature this spring, we heard about lunch shaming, the practice in some public schools of denying hot meals to kids whose parents haven’t paid their lunch bills.

Around the internet, there’s been lots of talk of hair shaming, the practice in some private schools of sending kids home if their hair doesn’t comply with rules, and of how these rules seem to target what most people with a pulse would recognize as common African-American hairstyles.

One viral video showed an adorable, 6-year-old boy being turned away from his first day of school at a small Florida Christian academy due to his not-even-shoulder-length dreadlocks.

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Another came from closer to home, where 6th-grader Faith Fennidy was sent home from Christ the King Middle School in Terrytown because she wore hair extensions, specifically braids that were neatly pulled back. A video of the incident prompted widespread outrage, including local outposts of the Anti-Defamation League and Urban League.

“ADL and the Urban League are deeply troubled by the policy in question as well as the manner in which the school is disciplining students of color under this policy,” the statement said. “The policy shows racial insensitivity and bias by the administration to students and their families.”

Faith’s brother Steven took to Facebook to explain his sister’s choice. “Extensions make the hair easier to maintain. It allows my sister to have access to the swimming pool without having to get her hair Re-done every night,” he wrote.

How sad that he even felt like he had to justify it. These are kids we're talking about, who are just trying to go to school and live their lives. 

Besides, the video makes clear that there was nothing distracting or disrespectful in Faith’s appearance.

The only distraction and disrespect here came from the adults at the school. Quite the lesson.

Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.