(written in 2008 but definitely a must read)
by Guest Contributor Jessica Yee, originally published at The Shameless Blog
This story actually made me cry.
Five year old Adriel Arocha is being blocked from attending school in a Houston-area school district.
As an Apache, he has long hair that he has been growing in his Native cultural tradition that “violates” this school’s dress code rules.
The kicker though is that the school board is willing to make exceptions on religious or other “proven” moral grounds, but doesn’t think that being Native American cuts it.
Even after Adriel’s father Kenny submitted a DNA sample of his blood and explained the long history of why many of us do not cut our hair until a family member dies, he received this response from superintendent Curtis Rhodes:
“To make exceptions, you have to be provided evidence of something, and to this point, I don’t feel I’ve been provided evidence to make an exception.”
Oh really now? Well, what would they have us do so this child can attend school, show them a biblical text that says God told Native people to have long hair? Growing out your hair is a tradition in many Indigenous cultures that has been going on for centuries, long before our education was institutionalized. Long hair carries our life experiences and reminds us about the teachings we’ve received along the way.
So even when you take away our land, ignore our human rights, and try to destroy our culture, it’s still not good enough to go to your schools?
And people wonder why it’s so hard for us to keep our identity strong.
And why can’t boys have long hair again? I’m pretty sure they don’t have an issue with the long hair of their female students… so what’s the problem?
Whats REALLY fucked up about this, is:
1. Its sexist as fuck. Girls are allowed to have long hair, but boys arent? How is this against the schools dress code? Dress codes never included HAIR at the schools Ive attended.
2. Its oppressing their religion. Its insulting! How does anyone have the authority to tell someone whether their religion is VALID or not? Its so fucked up. What if you arent religious? Are you still supposed to confine to the rules of whatever it is that they are following. What if you just WANT your child to have long hair? What the FUCK is wrong with a KINDERGARTENER having long hair? Hes not part of some gang. wtffffffff.
This is fucked up. And just racist. I hate everything.
Ugh. Bulldoze that piece-of-shit school and send him to Herron. Or something.
Bullshitttttttttttttttttttttt that poor boy.
1. That’s beyond fucked up.
2. …that’s a pretty fucking good indication right there of a toxic location to which no one should send their kids.