In a common legal move, Christ the King Parish School and the Archdiocese of New Orleans have removed a lawsuit over the school’s hair policy to the federal courts, where a hearing is set for Sept. 18.
The legal maneuver means that U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman instead of Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese will rule on the request for an injunction from the mothers of two sixth-grade girls who say they were booted from class over their hair extensions.
The mothers allege that the hair policy was discriminatory because it blocked two African-American girls from class. The brother of one of the girls, Faith Fennidy, videotaped the scene as she left the Terrytown school in tears last month, leading to a social media firestorm.
Attorneys for the school and archdiocese said that the federal court was the proper venue for a case alleging violations of the U.S. Constitution. The girls' mothers could seek to have the case remanded to state court.
Both sides in an ongoing dispute over the hair policy at local Catholic schools have gone silent, with neither the Archdiocese of New Orleans…
Officials from the archdiocese met with attorney James Williams and the families of Fennidy and Tyrielle Davis on Aug. 29, but both sides were silent about the outcome of the conclave.
The removal of the case to federal court suggests the dispute is still active, however.
Attorneys for the school, principal Dawn Swear Castillo and the archdiocese said that Orleans Parish was not the proper place for the lawsuit because none of the school’s alleged misdeeds took place there. They also said that the archdiocese should not be a defendant in the case because it had no power over the school’s hair policy.
Feldman scheduled presentations from both sides in the case. He also said that a temporary restraining order from Civil District Court, which allows the girls to attend school with extensions, remains in place.
The school says that it has already rescinded the policy banning hair extensions. It’s not clear if the girls have returned to class.