Tulsa Charter School Board Votes To Change Controversial Dress Code Policy

The board voted Monday night to change the policy as it pertains to hairstyles, saying its a personal hygiene issue, instead of specifying what styles are allowed.

Monday, September 9th 2013, 6:02 pm

By: News On 6

The response a 7-year-old Tulsa girl got from her school over her hairstyle has gotten national attention and prompted the school to change its dress code policy.

Administrators and school board officials met Monday night, after the dress code policy at Deborah Brown Community School came into question.

Her parents said 7-year-old Tiana Parker came home in tears after receiving a verbal warning about her dreadlocks being against school policy.

The school's dress code policy did state that "faddish" hairstyles like afros and dreadlocks are unacceptable.

The board voted Monday night to change the policy as it pertains to hairstyles, saying its a personal hygiene issue, instead of specifying what styles are allowed.

The policy now reads:

"Each student and the parents/guardians of the student are responsible for the personal hygiene of the student. The Administration reserves the right to contact the parents/guardians regarding any personal hygiene issues that it believes causes a risk to the health, safety and welfare of the student, his or her classmates, and faculty or staff or detracts from the educational environment."

Tiana's parents pulled her from the school after they disagreed with how the school handled the way she wore her hair.

Tiana's story was then picked up by sites national news sites and blogs Huffington Post, Jezebel and DailyKos, with many readers jumping to the girl's defense and expressing outrage over the policy, saying that style was one of few that she could wear without using chemicals on her hair.

Langston University is a sponsor of the Deborah Brown Community School.

Langston President Kent Smith said in a statement after the vote: "The action taken today by the board of the Deborah Brown Charter School to amend the policy which resulted in the unfortunate disciplining of a young lady for the style of her hair is commendable. I appreciate the quick action. The amended policy reflects the respect we have at Langston University for our students and their individuality."

The university said the dress code policy was created at Deborah Brown Community School.

Tiana Parker's family said in a statement Monday that, even if the policy is changed, Tiana will not be coming back to Deborah Brown Community School:

"If the policy changes and locs and afros are allowed, we will of course be happy for future students and family's at Deborah Brown Community School. However, that does not change the fact that our 7-year-old daughter, Tiana, was made to feel that there was something wrong with her appearance, in turn coming home in tears. Even now, we have not been contacted by any of the administrators at Deborah Brown Community School nor has an apology been made to our daughter.

Regarding next steps, our focus is on Tiana and all of the "Tianas" in the world who have ever been made to feel this way. This is now much bigger than Tiana, and we know that the conversation cannot end here."

The school board apologized and said they only wants what's best for Tiana.


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