Teacher Sends Insulting Note Home About Student's Natural Hair & Mom Says Hell No

Mom shares discrimination child received at school because of coconut oil

Educators have been known to send notes home to parents about their child, but no mom or dad really expects to receive advice that doesn't center around academics. Tionna Norris is a Chicago-area mom who was dumbfounded after reading a daycare teacher's note that called her daughter's hair "stinky." And as far as we're concerned, the only thing cruddy about this whole situation is this teacher trying to school Mom on changing up her daughter's natural hair care routine so she won't get bullied.


While there's certainly nothing wrong with giving someone advice, you have to question whether or not this instructor at the Raggedy Anne Learning Center handled this situation well.

And as a mother, who happens to have natural hair, I'm going to say this letter gets a big unsatisfactory.

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Tionna posted the letter she received about her daughter Amia on Facebook.

It reads:

Dear Tionna

I understand the necessary [sic] of coconut oil on Amia's hair, but please do not use as much. The children were complaining that her hair 'stinks'. If you have to apply this daily -- please do so lightly, so the kid's [sic] don't tease her.

Thank you for understanding

Sincerely   Carol

Yup, something like this would land many moms (myself included) in the director's office. There has to be a better way to voice your "concerns," especially if you're trying to prevent a child from being teased in any way because of a difference.

Did this teacher ever realize she asked a mother to fix her daughter so Amia can fit in and not be made fun of by others? Was there a note sent to the parents of the children picking on Amia because she had natural hair?

Of course not. Because as it turns out, the only person who had an issue with Amia's hair was this educator.

According to Mom:

After meeting with the director I found out that no child ever bullied Amia (she's actually quite popular) and the word 'stink' was used in quotes because she [Amia's teacher] knew it didn't have a foul odor. It was just something the teacher was not used to and thought it was heavy (she has a sensitive nose so she says). [T]hey have fully taken responsibility and understands [sic] why it's so offensive.

Hmm ...

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I plan on raising my boys (they're 2 and 1 right now, so the struggle is real to get them to focus) to understand they live in a diverse world with diverse cultures and diverse people. They're going to have classmates who look different, talk different, wear different clothes, and possibly smell different. And rather than tease them about things dissimilar -- or encourage them to conform to fit in -- they will know to live and let live.

I don't like how this teacher handled this situation (and the words she used to convey her point), as it sends the wrong message and is quite insensitive. Not only do our children learn behavior from us, but their self-esteem -- including feeling accepted -- often rests on our shoulders, too.

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This incident was about hair, but what if the next time is about the way a child's clothes look -- or how they "stink"? What if that's all the parents could afford?

While I'm sure there will be times when a teacher feels the need to speak to a parent about his or her child for non-academic reasons, I hope it's about more pressing matters that aren't just a result of a personal preference that wasn't satisfied.


Image via Tionna Norris/Facebook

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