Once again, Black hairstyles are under surveillance, this time at a Louisiana high school. Jaylon Sewell, a student with a good reputation as the football team manager at Neville High School, was inspired to get a new hairstyle thanks to Odell Beckham Jr. Sewell dyed and styled his hair similar to the mohawk of the New York Giants player. His high school administration was not pleased.
Sewell was reportedly barred from attending class because of his new hair style. The 16-year-old’s family retaliated by lodging a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. They claimed that Sewell was discriminated against despite white students being able to attend class with dyed hair. The complaint further states that the school tried to punish Sewell by “suspending him, attempting to expel him, and barring him from participation on the NHS football team.”
Though the Monroe City Schools dress code states, “Hair styles, and hair dyed outlandish colors which cause a disruption to the educational process shall not be allowed,” Black students seem to be disproportionately punished. According to Sewell’s family complaint, 20 other Black students have been repeatedly targeted and harassed by school administrators for their hair decisions. The complaint even says some administrators went so far to say certain hairstyles were “too nappy.”
Authorities are still investigating the matter, but this smells like another case of pushing Black kids out of school for minuscule and culturally biased reasons. We’ll keep you updated as more information begins to surface.