What is it about the hair that grows from our heads that is deemed so threatening?
Now a Floridian teen has hit out at her private high school principal, after she told her that her natural Afro was a ‘distraction’ to fellow students and must be ‘fixed.’
Jenesis Johnson, 17, was told in no uncertain terms by Lynn Burgess, assistant principal at North Florida Christian School in Tallahassee, that her full, natural hair was ‘not neat’ and ‘needs to be put in a style.’
But Jenesis is fighting back and told WCTV: ‘It is fixed.’
But Jenesis has been told that if she does not meet the demands of the North Florida Christian administration, she risks being expelled.
The harsh instructions from the school came as a surprise to the teenager, particularly as she has been wearing her hair in an Afro style ‘on and off’ since seventh grade.
She also claims she has been wearing her hair in an Afro daily for the past seven months.
While Jenesis admitted her hair is big and voluminous, she says that she always sits in the back of the classroom so as to not obstruct anyone’s view.
Jenesis says the uproar over her beautiful full Afro began several weeks ago when a teacher asked her: ‘How long are you rocking that hairstyle?’
Two days later, Johnson was called into the assistant principal’s office and informed that her hair went against school policy.
In her criticism of Jenesis’s hair style, the assistant principal pointed to the North Florida Christian school handbook.
The handbook states, ‘No faddish or extreme hairstyles, and hair should be neat and clean at all times. The administration will make the decision on any questionable styles.’
Many, including Jenesis and her mother, Lisa, are questioning not whether the rule exists – but why it exists in the first place.
‘You might say that it didn’t fit the handbook,’ Lisa told WCTV. ‘But I saw, and what she heard is a woman telling her that she’s not pretty; her hair does fit society.’
Jenesis addd: ‘It hurts me. It’s hurting me. For my people behind me, the younger ones, they’re going to have hair like me. Why can’t they wear their natural hair?’
Johnson and her mother are still deciding how they will proceed for the coming school year.
This comes after Nicole Orr was told her Afro violated the protocol of Montverde Academy in Lake County. The sixteen year old, is also from a private school in Florida and was told to ‘fix’ her natural hair.
But since meeting with Nicole’s parents, the school reversed its decision after threatening the A-grade student with expulsion.
And two black student from Malden’s Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Boston were banned from extracurricular activities and given detention for having braided hair.
Twin sisters Deanna and Mya Scott, 15, were banned from track, the Latin Club and all school events after they came to school with braids.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has filed a complaint against the school.