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Principal Questions if Black Student’s Braids Make Him a Gangster

The parents of a 7th-grade student said they’ve decided to transfer their son from his current school after his principal asked him if his braided hair meant he’s a gangster.

In an interview, the parents of the Louisiana-based Calvary Baptist school student said they were left dumbfounded after they learned about the principal’s remarks.

“I picked him up, just like normal and asked how was your day? How did your friends like your braids?” Ashely Thorn, the mother of the Black student, said.

“We’re driving out of the parking lot and he said the principal pulled him aside today and asked if his braids represented being a gangster.”

Mother of the student said

Ashely and her husband immediately reached out to the private school’s administrator that afternoon.

The following day, they had an in-person meeting to discuss the issue of Dalon’s hair and Mesman’s perceived perception of the hairstyle. “You don’t think you have to prep your child or even think of something like that for something that’s so small,” said the boy’s mother.

In an alleged audio recording of their conversation, Mesman told Dalon’s parents, “I’ve never had a student wear their braids like that. I’ve had teachers personally come to me and ask about his hair and what I thought about it.”

Mesman continued, “I have seen children grow up in this school, and I’ve seen them change, so I was just checking to see where we are. I just wanted to see his heart. Our culture is changing. Little boys used to have regular little haircuts… I’m seeing a lot of young people listening to a lot of rappers pushing for drugs and doing things opposite of Christ.”

Little Dalon’s parents also said the principal’s comments were troubling because braided hair isn’t a violation of the school’s policy.

“You don’t think you have to prep your child or even think of something like that for something that’s so small,” said Thorn.

Dalon has only been at the school for the 2022–2023 academic year. After this experience, his parents say they plan to remove him from the tuition-based school that educates students through the eighth grade. Some of the reactions from people online include:

“The policing of Black children is what keeps them from being children. From having moments of innocent joy as a child, such as wearing braids. All because someone else is uncomfortable by their presence.”

“That principle needs to be fired. None of their business, and if he/she did feel the need to ask, better ask [the] parents. Schools are overstepping.”

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Written by Darnell Simmons

Investigative Journalist, social analysis