Tulsa School Sends Girl Home Because Of Dreadlocks

by Yesha Callahan

dreadsDeborah Brown Community School is one student short for the remainder of the school year.

Terrance Parker said the school hassled him and didn’t leave him a choice. Parker said he yanked his 7-year-old daughter, Tiana, out of classes because of a disagreement that left her in tears.

Parker, who’s a barber, said school officials at Deborah Brown told him Tiana’s hair didn’t look presentable.

“She’s always presentable. I take pride in my kids looking nice,” said Parker.

The charter school has its own set of rules. While no one at the school agreed to speak with us on camera, administrator, Millard Jones told FOX23 that Terrance Parker was fully aware what was expected. However, for his young daughter, it just hurts.

“They didn’t like my dreads,” said Tiana.

FoX23 reviewed the school’s dress code. It states, “hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros, mohawks, and other faddish styles are unacceptable.”

The school feels that could distract from the respectful and serious atmosphere it strives for.

“She went to the school last year and didn’t have any problems,” said Parker.

Parker said her hair looked the same.

“It hurt my feelings to the core,” said Parker.

“I think that they should let me have my dreads,” said Tiana.

Tiana, a straight A student, wears a different school uniform now, but the same hair style, which looks perfectly fine according to her new school.


Here is a photo of the founding director, Deborah Brown. God forbid someone tells her that her “Natural” hair is a fad. Or maybe it’s a wig.




  • MommieDearest

    Wow this is sad. But, it clearly states in the dress code that dreads are not permitted. Who knows why Tianna’s hair was overlooked until now, but the parents should have addressed it before sending her there in the first place.

    Maybe this is just me, but if I really wanted my daughter to attend this school, I would have explained to them why “afros” and “dreadlocks” are NOT faddish nor unacceptable; then encouraged them to alter that rule. If they refused to budge, then I would send my child somewhere else.

    Hopefully this shows the school the error of their ways and will nudge them to make a positive change.

  • Jasz

    Really? Faddish hairstyles?!!! These tricks be doin’ the most to try to make black folk conform to some stupid, unattainable white form of beauty. When I have my beautiful BLACK babies I’m gonna make sure that they wear their afro puffs, locs, and afros with pride. I’m gonna let them know their history and show them the beauty of being black because like it or not we have to protect our babies much more than others. We have to prepare them for the world and instill in them the love of their race. I’m glad this good father took his child out of this obviously toxic and oppressive environment. How does a afro or loc hairstyle hinder you from learning? Things that make you go mmm hmmm….

  • lea

    faddish style? wth is that supposed to mean?

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    racist mother fuckers…….

  • http://gravatar.com/tellmesumtingood TajMarie

    To h*ll with tolerance and cultural sensitivity. They need to start putting these cases under racial discrimination. I hope the family sues.

  • Kayla

    The policy against dreadlocks is just plain silly. Still, why did the school wait a whole year before saying something?

  • http://gravatar.com/geenababe geenababe

    I don’t know how the way someone hair is style affects their ability to learn. Isn’t that what school is supposed to be about the student’s ability to learn.

  • http://dquefans.proboards.com LVNDQ

    Black hair and faddish hair styles are completely and utterly DISTRACTING!! GTFOHWTBS

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Man f*ck this… so wearing a natural hairstyle distracts for a “serious and respectful” atmosphere….what? She and her hair isn’t the problem I am so sick and tired of people telling us what we should do to our appearance or how we should behave to make us look “presentable” to them because they want us to assimilate by any means necessary. Hairstyles like locs, afros, etc. aren’t the problem but people’s attitudes towards them and clearly being ignorant of black hair and classic styles. Poor baby, I am sorry that she experienced this but I am glad that her dad read the school and their silly rule. How do you tell a culture that their hairstyle is “faddish…?” I bet if this child came with a weave in her head they wouldn’t blinked an eye or uttered a word….smh
    I agree with TajMarie, cases of discrimination needs to start being filed because having locs, afros, etc. isn’t out of the ordinary for hairstyle worn by black people so they need t come with something better.

  • dana smalls

    Black folks have been proudly wearing whatever hair comes out of our heads since the beginning of time, so I don’t know why an afro is considered “faddish”….

  • BeanBean

    how the heck is an Afro a faddish style?? I had no clue that my genes that made my hair kinky is a fad!!! How just wow. I bet many white people think that all blacks have naturally straight (relaxed) hair, and think that an Afro is some weird style.

  • Gabriella

    What in the entirely open racist f***?!? Not only do these school officials have control issues, they also need a lesson in Black Hair 101. They are worried about the wrong thing.

  • Akosua

    Heck….black people think this.

  • MommieDearest


    Why am I NOT surprised to come back in here and see that the founder of the school is a black woman.?


  • NY’s Finest

    Excuse my ignorance for a second, but I really wanna slap the hell outta that Deborah Brown chick.

  • http://winonainc.com Edwina@WINONA, INC.

    It’s so sad. Black people still so hung up about their own natural hair and passing it down, or trying to, from one generation to the next. And these are supposed to be EDUCATORS??? When are we going to stop doing this to ourselves? I hope every parent removes their children from that school. There’s just no telling what kind of self-hating nonsense they’re teaching those children.

  • PacificMoceans


  • kaybee

    DISGUSTING. That’s the problem with this country. Too much emphasis on LOOKS. The parents were smart to put the child in another school b/c the other one is full of IGNORANCE. Deborah Brown better take a look in the mirror.

  • http://mrsberry79.wordpress.com mrsberry79

    Now this one is too funny. I am from Tulsa and would have expected this from some of the other schools; but Deborah Brown’s school. This is a joke, right?

  • Lilly

    It’s 2013! Why is it that we are regressing, instead of moving forward? Ugh!!! This upsets me. A child that young will think that “black” hairstyles are negative and will try her whole life to conform to societies standard of beauty.

  • BlackNortherner

    The distance that actually having self esteem and seeing one self as being as good as anyone else, when combined with an education, can take a child is HUGE. This ridiculous school seems not to get that degrading of Black people is why many of us want to put our kids in more positive environments run by us…. but here is a fool that is supposed to be one of us creating an environment where the kids feel inferior. She took a bright Black child and stomped her self esteem down to nothing. What in the hell does that do to better a child’s future which I thought was the point of a school?

    I would have removed my child too! Shame on this woman and her school.

  • Anthony

    Someone probably already said this, but this school is run by idiots! The best thing those people could have done for that child is put her out.

  • IJusWannaSay…


  • http://gravatar.com/yesimthatleah Yes, I’m That Leah

    I’m glad he took her out!

  • Nova

    I believe the school used this student. They knew full well what their policies were when she attended the school an was an excellent, smart, straight A student. Her superior academic performance boosted that school test scores and she helped them look good with the state Education Board, and now that they have gotten recognition, they don’t need her and they are probably bowing down to a another jealous parent. Sad sad sad. We have got to do better.

  • Nova

    IT does not affect their ability to learn, sista. If anything it enhances their ability to learn. When you have pride in who you are and how you look and love what God has created, your self-esteem goes through the roof; and then your ability to learn goes up as well. As proof in this child. She was a straight A student. Her dad did the right thing; pulling her out of that slave encampment; before more harm is done to that beautiful child. That school was trying to break down that baby. Her hair style is not a fad; and has never been faddish.

  • http://gravatar.com/bossladi bossladi

    Yet another reason why I would strongly consider home schooling my future child.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    will you please go over there and slap deborah brown?

  • whylie2010

    So the director wears a wig mimicking a natural hairstyle, yet natural hairstyles such as locs and afros are banned? Hmm

  • Nadell

    The attack on natural hair is rabid!!

  • ruggie

    Charter schools are all about image. They are not educating students better than any halfway decent public school with involved parets. Not shocked that they would create a hostile setting for an A student over hair. Now they get to have a publicity stunt, a.k.a. lottery, to fill her spot. All done with taxpayer money and tax-deductible donations.

  • http://gravatar.com/kmnelson1976 KMN

    I just sent this comment to their school:

    As a former teacher in the Milwaukee, WI area in both public and charter schools…I am ASHAMED and APPALLED at your actions towards a SEVEN year old STRAIGHT a student regarding her hair.

    Educators (teachers, administration, cooks, anyone that works within the school) are there to not only enrich and mold the minds of students but to also help mold and uplift their self esteem. This school seemed to want to DESTROY this child’s self esteem. And for that you should be ashamed.
    The locs that come out of that child’s head have NOTHING to do with her ability to learn and more with your fear of her love her natural hair and her parent’s love for her natural hair.

    As an African American based school (founders, administration, and student population) your latest decision to ban “faddish” hairstyles that require less manipulation than weaves, perms, coloring, etc. is hypocritical.

    I say that you ban perms, weaves, colored hair, colored weaves, lace fronts, braids…oh just go for banning ALL hair!! How can something that was created by God be considered faddish?

    I will end this letter with this: I hope that you are happy with yourselves and making a seven year old child cry.

    I pray that you all find some common sense about hair.

    I hope that you have continued success.

    And I hope that every child in your school decides to get locs. Get rid of them.

    Stay well, be blessed…and hopefully you will all learn from this situation, gain some common sense, and find the truth in self love.


  • Darcy

    I disagree with the school’s policy, but you just made a blanket statement. All charters are not the same. Whereas many have uniform policies, I personally know of many where black students can wear their hair anyway their want (including Mohawks) as long as it is neat. Just like all public schools aren’t perfect there are bad charters. However, there are good ones out there where this specific incident would never happen.

  • Darcy

    The policy is rooted in ignorance of their true selves. They are so brainwashed that they don’t realize how foolish a policy banning black hairstyles sounds. Perfect hypocrisy. They are a black run school, yet want to erase something part of the physical makeup of bring black.

  • Wow

    So the hair that she has stapled to her head is ok though?

    That poor baby crying her eyes out b/c this woman who decides to cover her own natural hair with somebody else’s hair is too insecure in her own self image to allow this child to love her hair as God gave it to her.

    Shame on you Deborah Brown and hopefully this baby’s family will teach her to not let other black people’s insecurities about themselves ever hold her back from loving who she is, how she is!

  • Elle

    To voice concerns to Ms. Brown (email link is in article):

    Address: 2 South Elgin Avenue. Tulsa, OK 74120
    Telephone: (918) 425-1407
    Fax: (918) 425-6693

  • BB

    one good thing that has come of this is that she sees her father will defend her to the end showing her that there is nothing wrong with her, she may not see that now but that is a definitely a great foundation for when she grows to be a woman and anyone dares to make her feel any less than she is. The fact that it even happened is heartbreaking but it definitely warmed my heart to see that part

  • Kina001

    Thank you!!!

  • lea

    funny thing is the administration and board are mostly black i.e. self hate anyone?

  • lea

    emailed already

  • GlowBelle

    We tell our kids to watch out for the bullies in school and here we have adults being the real bullies. This girl is seven years old and they’ve got her crying over what? Her hair. So stupid and uncalled for. My heart aches for her, as there is absolutely nothing wrong with her hair. They look like braids/twists to me and with a cute little bow. How is this distracting??? This self and hair hate cycle needs to stop as we are scarring the children now who don’t know any better. I mean I thought we were supposed to be teaching the babies to do better than us, now we’re teaching them to hate themselves? Terrible.

    I’m super glad her father is looking out for her and took her out of that crazy school, and that the girl is still wearing her hair the way SHE wants to wear it.

  • Gell0h0h

    My locs are not a faddish (is that even a word) style. Lady bye!

  • Joan

    She’s better off not going to that school.

  • MommieDearest

    Thank you for this information.

  • SueQ

    It’s sad Debrah Brown is black. Self hate is real in our community. We would rather comply and accept European standards of beauty rather than accepting our own beauty and making it the standard…..I luv my locs : )

  • Pingback: For Tiana: A Care Package FULL of Locs of LOVE

  • The Artist

    As always, rules to keep the people of color away..Smh. I’m certainly happy to see the out pour of support, surrounding Tiana.

  • Nic

    That Deborah Brown is a self-hating idiot.

  • Tet tee

    By default they assume her to be ‘militant’ you know, black and girl and liking her own damn self. I mean how dare she! SMH

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