War On Natural Hair


Deanna & Mya Cook, students at Mystic Valley H.S.


We have read about it before, a school aged child disciplined not over performance but rather their appearance. There is a case to be made of wearing a compliant school uniform, making sure your pants don’t sag below the waistline or even promptly attending classes. This though is different, there is a dangerous pattern reinforced by unfounded stereotypes against natural Black hair. Our children are being singled out and punished for their inherent culture, for looking different from the other kids in class.

A group of students at Mystic Valley High were placed on detention or suspension for violating the schools policy on hair extensions, which the school implies, “distracting to other students”. According to one of the Cook sisters, “They marched Black and bi-racial children down the hall [to inspect their hair],” she told the Boston Globe on Friday. Another student was reportedly suspended for refusing to remove her box braids. Mystic Valley High has presumptively taken it upon themselves to dictate to all persons of color that their cultural expressions are not welcome in the name of “equality”. Their policy disproportionately affects on 17% of students, only the Black kids are made to submit that harm their self-confidence but ostracize them for refusing to conform.

As of May 16th, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a complaint with the Massachusetts education department against Mystic Valley High School of Malden, MA. The schools policy “… appears to be especially harmful to female students of color and it has been enforced in a  disparate manner against them.”, according to a complaint filed by the ACLU. Cases like these reflect societal animosity against natural coils and curls. You should never feel ashamed of your heritage, allow yourself to be punished for it or ostracized for your aesthetic features. We all must pay attention to how other adults treat our children and speak up against those who try to instill fear.

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About author



Hi I'm Fluffy from Boston, Massachusetts. I believe in "Coil Courage" - it's not about one type of hair being better than another. It's about healthy hair - long or short.

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