Boy's braids may keep him out of kindergarten

Filed under: Big Kids, In The News, Day Care & Education, Religion & Spirituality

school busHe's simply a boy anxious to start kindergarten, but even at age five, Adriel Arocha is learning that, sometimes, things just aren't that simple. Adriel's dad is Apache and believes that Adriel's hair should remain uncut for traditional reasons. Adriel himself says that he needs his long braids because,"they tell me how long I've been here."

But when the family made plans to move to Needville, Texas and enroll their child in kindergarten, they didn't exactly receive a warm welcome. Adriel's mom emailed the school to inquire about enrollment and to mention his long hair, which, she explained, was always neatly kept in two long braids. The school emailed back that their dress code did not allow boys' hair to touch their collars. After a flurry of emails, phone calls, and meetings, the district decided that they were unwilling to budge on their rules for Adriel and his family.The Arocha's are arguing that the Needville dress code infringes on their civil rights, while the Needville superintendent says he's not been provided the evidence to prove that any rights have been violated. At the crux of this issue is the fact that many Native American traditions are handed down through oral teachings, which the Needville district claims is not "proof" enough for them to change their rules for Adreil. The Arocha's plan to push ahead with a trial.

Is hair really that big of an issue in school? Girls are allowed to have long hair, so it's not a safety issue. Unless a haircut is disrupting learning, I don't see how it impact's a child's education one way or the other. Needville's superintendent went so far as to suggest Adriel get his own classroom, with his own teacher, lest he inoculate the other students, I suppose, with his free-thinking ways. I think I'd be more worried about the budgetary implications of a compromise like that than a five-year-old's hairstyle.

Is the Needville school district being too hard-headed and making too big a deal out of Adriel's braids? Or do you think that the Arocha's need to follow the rules in their new home?

(via LilSugar)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.