Malden school faces state ACLU complaint

They've endured odd looks at the grocery store in Malden, Massachusetts, and ignored unusual comments from Wal-Mart greeters. Others have been suspended, but the parents said they're not backing down.

The two students who have been the main ones to receive the most detention and possible suspension are twin sisters, Deanna and Mya.

"I'm angry, I feel like my children are attractive, they're Black, they should be proud of themselves". And they were asked if their hair was real or not.

Mya: "Students were called down whether they had braids or not". "On information and belief, other students of color have also been disciplined and threatened and are fearful of retaliation if they challenge this policy".

The girls' parents have since filed a complaint with the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League. Deanna, a runner who qualified for the state finals, has been kicked off the school track team. I read that there's one black teacher even though the school is 40 percent students of color. "It will diminish your students, and diminish your ranks". That is taking time away from learning and it is discriminatory.

In response, Interim School Director Alexander Dan sent a letter to all Mystic Valley parents defending the policy.

Mya: "It violates the dress code". "Any suggestion that it is based on anything else is simply wrong".

The Cook girls refused to take out their braided extensions and were punished with daily detention. According to an analysis by the Boston Globe, hair extensions woven into braids in the greater Boston area can cost between $50 to $200 and last up to three months. The latter met with school administrators this past Friday.

The student body is fairly diverse, which is part of the reason the Cooks chose it years ago for their five adopted children. "Black people, people of color, our hair tends to do that".

"They teach them at a very high academic level and I appreciate that, and that's why they go to the school", Cook said.

Cook added: "The school needs some serious diversity training". Per Cook, administrators went so far as to target black and biracial children by marching them down the hall to inspect their hair. "Lauren was having difficulty in mathematics, but they should be helping her out instead of putting her in detention".

Namuddu said, "It's discrimination".

Braids with extensions is a hairstyle banned by the charter's dress code, as well as unnatural hair colors, makeup and nail polish.

"What they're saying is we can't wear extensions, and the people who wear extensions are black people", Deanna explained.

  • Leroy Wright