Another day another, attack on Black natural hair—and sadly this time it was against a 3-year-old.
An Illinois teacher sent a note home to a Black mother complaining about the smell of her daughter’s hair. According to The Daily Mail, Tionna Norris said that on Monday her daughter Amia’s teacher claimed that other students were complaining that Amia’s hair “stinks” and suggested that Norris use less coconut oil in order to avoid bullying.
“If you have to apply this daily – please do so lightly, so the kid’s don’t tease her,” the Raggedy Anne Learning Center teacher wrote.
Clearly this type of insensitivity and audacity upset Norris, who later posted a picture of the note on her Facebook page (which has since gone viral) with the following caption: “Y’all gone feel that black girl magic. Sincerely, unapologetically black mom. P.s. Coconut oil has no stinky smell.”
To add insult to injury, Norris says that after speaking with the school’s director, she learned that “Carol” lied about the bullying story, the Daily Mail noted. She said the director told her that “no child ever bullied Amia (she’s actually quite popular) and the word “stink” was used in quotes because (the 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),” Norris wrote on her page.
She added: “The [school] has fully taken responsibility and understand why it’s so offensive.”
And while Norris is satisfied with the school’s response to the situation, she’s not as confident about her child’s teacher.
“Do I still believe the teacher didn’t have ill intentions? Not for a second because the way she tried to talk to me about how she thought my daughter smelled (which she is the only person who felt that way) was absolutely and totally unacceptable,” she wrote.
According to a post she wrote on Thursday, Norris confirmed that she’s taking her daughter out of the school.
Incidents like these continue to underscore the need for diversity and sensitivity training in all educational settings. None of our children should be told that their hair and how it’s taken care of is problematic or “stinks.”