The parents of Faith Fennidy, a young black girl sent home from a Terrytown Catholic school this week because of her hair extensions, will meet with Archdiocese of New Orleans officials on Monday to address the issues raised by the controversy and work out when their daughter can return to her sixth-grade class.
The family held a press conference Friday in Metairie, where Faith's brother Steven Fennidy Jr., who posted the video on Tuesday of his sister leaving Christ the King Elementary School in tears, thanked everyone for their "love, prayers, encouragement and support."
"Faith did not ask to be put in this position, but we are proud at the courage she has shown in standing up for what is right," he said. "It is our hope that through sharing the story of Faith’s painful experience that girls of all ethnic backgrounds will no longer be condemned based on their appearance and can be proud of who they are and how they look."
The incident touched off a firestorm on social media and attracted national attention, with supporters of Faith and her family saying the school's policies against hair extensions target black students and are culturally insensitive.
That position made up the basis of a lawsuit filed by Montrelle Fennidy, Faith's mother, and Toyonita Parquet, who is the mother of another young African-American girl sent home from the Terrytown school for the same reason.
On Thursday, Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Piper Griffin issued a temporary restraining order that blocks the school from enforcing its policy. The order expires Sept. 6, but the girls' mothers have also asked for a permanent injunction against the school.
Their attorney, James Williams, said at the news conference that the family looks forward "to sitting down with the leadership of the school and the archdiocese, to hopefully come up with a peaceful solution that remedies this injustice.”
RaeNell Houston, superintendent of the Office of Catholic Schools, said in a statement late Friday that her office is happy to meet and "we look forward to reaching a resolution. Our goal has always been to welcome the girls back to Christ the King Elementary School as soon as possible."
Houston said her office is reconvening an advisory council to address school policies, "particularly those that might affect cultural differences in school communities, as well as other topics such as racial harmony, social justice and urban Catholic education."
“The Office of Catholic Schools recognizes the importance of engaging parents, faculty and students to gain their input," the statement said. "We remain committed to being a welcoming school community that celebrates our unity and diversity."
Hours after the mothers of two young black girls filed a lawsuit against Christ the King Parish School, a state judge issued a temporary restr…
The video that Steven Fennidy posted on Instagram quickly drew attention to the Terrytown school's new policy, which stipulates that students must have natural hair.
He said there are practical reasons for hair extensions, noting that they allow his sister to go swimming without having to have her hair redone every night.
Toyonita Parquet, the mother of the other student sent home, said her daughter suffers from medically diagnosed hair loss.
Can't see video below? Click here.
Video of a young black girl walking dejectedly out of a Catholic school in Terrytown in tears after being told her hair extensions violated sc…
At the news conference, Steven Fennidy said that while his sister was "deeply hurt by the intolerant actions taken by Christ the King School," she has since received "overwhelming support from thousands of people all over the world, ranging from celebrities to children her age living in different countries."
"Please continue to support Faith, use her experience as motivation to fight for change and not remain silent in the face of inequality," he said. "Our family will fight this injustice prayerfully and positively. We will not combat hate with hate but rather with love and peace. We ask that all of Faith’s supporters do the same. Thank you again for encouraging Faith during this difficult time."