A father is calling his daughter’s school racist after she was sent home from school for wearing a dreadlocks-style hair cut.
When Chenise Benson, 14, went to George Pindar School with her new dreadlocks hairstyle on Oct. 20, she was denied entry, the Daily Mail reported.
Chenise got the idea after seeing pictures of Beyonce donning the hairstyle. She started asking around to see where she could have the same thing done to her hair.
The teen saved up money she earned by doing chores. She eventually raised enough to get the dreadlocks in time for her sister, Billie Ann, to celebrate her 16th birthday.
Chenise’s father, Darren Benson, 39, said he received a phone call at around 8:30 a.m. from her daughter, who was crying. Chenise told him that her teachers said she needed to take her braids out because she was violating the school dress code.
“When I went down to the school a teacher read out the school guidelines to me about hair – which infuriated me,” Benson told the Daily Mail. “They said she would have to take the braids out – otherwise she couldn’t go to school.”
Chenise did not attend school the following day. Benson said she will return to school on Oct. 31 with the same haircut.
“I think it looks beautiful, she looks great,” Benson said of his daughter’s haircut. “Part of me agrees it is over the top – but they are going to get it done whatever aren’t they.
“My youngest daughter Chenise is quite dark and tanned anyway – so it doesn’t look too bad.
“But that’s not the point is it – I was furious because of the principle of it and [Chenise] was crying down the phone to me.”
A dress code policy document on the school’s website states the rule:
Please note we do not allow extreme, unnatural hairstyles or [coloring]. Any hair accessories should be of a practical nature and should not be decorative.
If you are in doubt please contact your child’s tutor at the school. Hair should be no shorter than a Grade 3 cut.
Please be aware that what is and is not acceptable will be decided by the school in line with this policy and the school’s decision is final.
Please note that in sending your child to George Pindar School that you are agreeing to ensure your child abides by this policy.
If you have any queries or questions regarding any aspect of uniform, [jewelery], hairstyle, please could you contact the school.
Still, Benson insisted that his daughter’s hairstyle should not be a problem.
“The hair style isn’t going to stop her from learning is it?” Benson said. “It wasn’t to be smart – she just wanted something different.
“But the school shouldn’t be dictating now what pupils can and can’t have.
“I agree [about having] no makeup – but hair is different and no one should ever be forced to have their hair one way or another.”
“I’m not racist in any shape or form – but this is like racism against their own,” Benson added. “Chenise is being picked out here because she’s white – if she was black or mixed-race they wouldn’t have a problem.
“Chenise’s friend whose dad is Jamaican even told the teachers ‘look at my hair, I’m still allowed in.’
“In this country we’re so bothered about upsetting other people that we’re upsetting our own.”
Chenise also spoke out regarding the incident.
“I wasn’t bothered what other people thought of my hair – but it was the teachers who upset me,” she said. “Why would they pick me out like that – all because I want to be different.
“People did say I looked ‘minging’ when I was walking around the shops – but other people told me they wanted it doing just like mine – and were asking for the number for the lady who did it.
“I was like looking through some pictures of Beyonce who had it done and I thought the style she had was really nice.
“I asked the woman in the street where she got her hair done and she gave my [mom]’s number to the braid woman.
“I saved up my pocket money for it so I wanted it to be special.”
Benson said they’ve reached an agreement with the school to allow Chenise’s braids if they are all one color.
Sources: Daily Mail, George Pindar School / Photo credit: Alan Levine/Flickr