A First Grader Was Turned Away For His Dreadlocks On First Day Of School

A six-year-old was turned away from his first day of school at A Book’s Christian Academy for having dreadlocks, according to his father Clinton Stanley Sr. Stanley spoke with the Miami Herald about what he believes was blatant racial discrimination. The child’s father shared an eight minute video taken at the front door to the Academy, during which he tries to reason with the teachers and administration, who mostly ignore him and walk away. He offers to tie his son’s hair back, but they reject the offer.

“Our son just got told he could not attend the school with his hair,” he says in the video “If that’s not biased, I don’t know what is.”

He struggles to control his emotions and keep calm in front of the boy, who looks confused and sad. It’s a painful video to watch, as Stanley is clearly distressed and frustrated with the situation. His son has clearly been growing his dreads for some time, and they’re a part of his identity.

The video was shared by activist Shaun King, who expressed his own infuriation over how the father and son are treated:

The school has denied racial discrimination, with the school’s director, John Book, telling WESH2 News that the private school is free to set any standard for dress codes they like.

“You can see my school, it’s probably 95 percent black,” said Book. “Obviously, I am not a racist. But we try to uphold certain Biblical standards and certain degrees of order that enable us to maintain a school.”

The school’s handbook says hair on boys must be “tapered cut, off the collar and ears. There are to be no dreads, Mohawks, designs, unnatural color, or unnatural designs. No combs or net caps.“

Though the handbook states that no dreads are allowed, it was created by the administration and subject to their whims. It could be changed by them as well. Removing dreadlocks is not as simple as getting a trim, it would require a child to shave their entire head, which sounds fairly traumatic for a six-year-old. Not very Biblical at all, actually!

There is some good news: according to King, the child has been moved to a new school that supports him:

He looks much happier in his adorable Spider-Man shirt:

The best possible outcome would be for the school to change it’s policy and make their learning environment a place of tolerance and respect. But the second best thing is for Stanley to be able to get his kid the heck out of that terrible place.