Kindergartener Sent Home on First Day Because His Hair Was Too Long

Kindergarten SuppliesIt's a rough start to the school year to be sent home on the first day of school. Especially if you're five and it's the first day of Kindergarten. Even more so if it's over something that's completely out of your control as a child.

But that's what happened to Malachi Wilson, who was sent home from school for having long hair. Malachi happens to be Native American, and in keeping with his family's Seminole religious beliefs, he keeps his hair long, which is apparently a big no-no at F.J. Young Elementary School.

Advertisement

The district was quick to defend the school's decision to send a Kindergartner home over long hair, insisting that all procedures were followed. Once proper documentation was shown that Malachi is indeed part of the Navajo Nation, a form was filed and he was allowed to go back to school, long hair and all.

His mom, April Wilson, said that even though the matter has been resolved, they'll never get his first day of school back. "Malachi was excited to start school all summer long. After we had enrolled him he was excited, everyday it was the question, 'mom are we going to school?'"

April explained the traditional significance placed on keeping their hair long. "Our hair is sacred to us, it makes us part of who we are," she said.

After Malachi was sent home from school, April contacted the Navajo Nation, and the matter was sorted out by the end of the school day. "I also spoke with the American Indian movement, they had also contacted the superintendent, when they contacted the superintendent, they had told them that they were going to accept Malachi into school," she said.

According to the school rules, "certain recognized religious or spiritual beliefs may qualify for an exception from provisions of the dress code," which has some people commenting that April should have checked the dress code to make sure they were in compliance, and filed the proper exemptions before the start of the school year.

But these days, should a mom of a boy with long hair have to worry about such a thing? So many little boys have long hair now, it would never occur to me as a mom to research an exemption from it.

And what about any other boys who don't have a religious reason to have long hair, but just want it? Do they not get to go to school just because they're on the cutting edge of hair trends? It seems sort of ridiculous.

April's still hurt over the discrimination against her son, and is looking into finding a lawyer for a possible lawsuit. She confessed, "It’s kind of heart breaking because how do you explain to a five-year-old that he is being turned away because of what he believes in, because of his religion, because of what’s part of him, how do you explain that to him?"

Do you think boys in elementary schools should be allowed to have long hair?

 

Image via Robert S. Donovan/Flickr

Read More >