{{show_title_date || "Child forced to switch schools because of hairstyle, 9/8/13, 8:00 PM ET"}}

Forced to leave school for dreadlocks, 7-year-old says she likes her hair


After being forced to switch schools for sporting dreadlocks, 7-year-old Tiana Parker said she likes where she’s enrolled now and, better yet, likes her hair the way it is.

Classes had just begun for the elementary schooler at the Deborah Brown Community School in Oklahoma when school officials told her father, Terrance Parker, that his daughter’s hair was not presentable.

“It made me feel just like she felt–like she wasn’t wanted in school,” said Parker, sitting next to his daughter, Tiana, on NewsNation Monday.

According to a 2007-2008 version of the school’s handbook, “hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros and other faddish styles are unacceptable.” Parker, who is training to become a barber, said he tried to reason with the school about different ways to style Tiana’s hair, but that officials gave him no other choice but to withdraw her.

“They wouldn’t go back on their word,” he said.

The incident sparked an outpouring of support on social media, with many accusing the school’s policy of being racist. MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry even wrote a message to Tiana, “and to all the little brown girls who rock their hair in all its many styles:”

You are perfect, just the way you are. Don’t be confused, when you’re at school, what is in your head is way more important than what is on your head!