One Texas mom plans to fight back after she says her 4-year-old son was kicked out of school because his hair was "too long."
When Jessica Oates dropped her son, Jabez, off at Barbers Hill Kindergarten Center, all seemed fine. But on Friday, she was told that Jabez's hair violated the school dress code.
The school policy states that boys must have a haircut above the eyes, ears and neck and that a parent or guardian must provide a letter citing "religious or cultural exception," WDSU News reports.
So to keep her son in line with school policy, Oates sent Jabez to school with his hair pulled up in a bun with a simple black hair tie. "[School administrators] said that the black hair tie was inappropriate and they would not allow him to go," Oates told Inside Edition.
Oates, who says that her family is part Cocopah Indian and their hair is viewed as strength, also says that the school initially told her that her son's hair wouldn't be an issue.
"When I went to enroll my child, I asked about the policy on hair. I was told my son would be allowed to keep his hair," Oates said. "I was getting him all geared up for school. I took him to school and it was no big deal."
On Monday, Oates posted a Facebook Live video during her meeting with the assistant superintendent.
"To me, that is blatant discrimination against something me and my child believe in," Oates said to the administrator.
"I just want my child to get an education," she continued. "It's something extended to every other child in this community, and we live in this community, and we're a part of this community. And I'm not understanding how long hair would exclude my child from an education in this school district."
"Was it any harder to teach him because he has long hair?" Oates questions, to which the woman replies that it's the school board of Barbers Hill Independent School District that sets the policy.
Later, Oates updated her Facebook post, writing, Oates later "UPDATE: I was just called by this woman and told the superintendent does not wish to have a meeting and that Jabez will NOT be allowed in school."0comments
In a statement sent to WDSU News, the Barbers Hill Independent School District said they will not be changing their tune on the issue: "Our local elected board has established policy based on community expectations, and Barbers Hill Administration will continue to implement the said policy."
Oates said she wants to fight back and that she won't be cutting her son's hair. "I believe the policy is sexist because they have no hair policy for girls. I am really angry. The fact that my son can't go to school angers me. It's outrageous and outdated."