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Biracial Girl Removed From Classroom Because Of Her Hair

Biracial Girl Removed From Classroom Because Of Her Hair

This story is an example of the sad fact that within schools, sensitivity training can only go so far – sometimes, there are unpredictable situations where teachers just have to intuitively react, and often they’re not prepared to do so.  And often, these issues are much larger than they appear on the surface.  Such is the case with the 8-year-old biracial student who was removed from her advanced-placement class because the teacher claimed that she was allergic to the girl’s hair moisturizer.  The teacher first put the girl in the hallway, and then moved her to a different classroom where she found herself in a lower-level class with predominately African-American students.

This behavior seems bizarre enough – but add the fact that the girl was the only student of color in her school’s accelerated program, and the concerns of her angry parents, who may now sue the school (the NAACP, along with the Department of Education, have already filed a complaint), seem justified.  The girl’s father, Charles Mudede, is black, and says that he had talked to his daughter about resisting pressures to straighten her hair so that she would look more like her white classmates.  The product that so irritated the teacher was a compromise, Mudede said, “something light that kept her hair in its natural state.”

The girl’s parents have a host of questions to which there seem to be no adequate answers: “Why did the teacher think the problem was his daughter’s hair? Why hadn’t the school called the parents? What investigation was being done to pinpoint the source of the problem? And, finally, why did the school seem oblivious to the racial overtones of a white teacher singling out her only black student?”

Mudede says that the situation escalated because no one at the school seemed prepared to answer these basic questions.  He wrote on his blog,

“When we, her parents, were later informed of this incident, we also learned that once my daughter was removed from the class, the teacher felt much better. We were also told that the teacher had experienced something like a fainting spell because of our daughter’s hair. Feeling the seriousness of this situation, we decided not to send our daughter to school until the teacher had medical proof that our daughter’s hair or something in her hair was to blame for the nausea. (The last thing you want to happen to your daughter is for a teacher to faint or vomit at the mere sight of her.)

Days passed and the school took no action. This unresponsiveness left us with no other choice than to turn to a lawyer. The whole thing is a mess. Getting entangled in a racial dilemma is something most black parents do not want for their children. It’s just not worth the trouble. Then again, like I said, if not checked and confronted, the incident will have permanent consequences for my child.”

And although the school is now making limited comments because of the threat of a lawsuit, it definitely seems as though this situation was horrifically mismanaged; without communicating privately with the student and involving the parents, of course this would turn into a humiliating ordeal for a little girl who clearly was already suffering from self-esteem issues.  If the teacher had allergies, that’s something that she couldn’t help.  But to target the student in such a dismissive embarrassing way shows a level of insensitivity that no teacher should have.

How do you think the situation should have been handled?

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266 comments

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10:57PM PDT on Jul 12, 2010

Please tell me this is a joke. I beg of you.

3:34AM PDT on Jul 7, 2010

The teacher is a racist and a snob and it is she who should be removed. There is no place for someone like that in education, for she will only breed racism and opresion, as she imparts her opinions on the young minds she has access to. Quite literally like putting the fox in charge of the chickens.

10:23PM PDT on Jun 24, 2010

OH DEFINITELY! SUE THE SHYT OUTTA THEM!! TEACH THE LESSON. SOTHERE WONT BE A NEXT TIME FOR THIS IGNORANT ACTION. THE TEACHER HAS NOT BEEN TAUGHT !!! NOW IF SHE HAD BEEN A...WELL YOU KNOW WHAT I*M ABOUT TO STATE..IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A TOTALLY DIFFERENT SITUATION.AND WE WOULD NOT BE HERE WRITING ABOUT THE SITUATION. SO WE STILL HAVE THE WHITE PROBLEM W/ PEOPLE OF "NOT THEIR" TONE OR COLOR HERE IN THE " GREAT" UNITED STATES OF AMERICA !

9:48PM PDT on Jun 23, 2010

sad

12:29PM PDT on Jun 22, 2010

HERE WE GO AGAIN??????i am black and cherokee. there are 10 of kids that gone thought this.....we went to all when to white schools.we all got A's...and it was hell...they world want to to be all you can be..NO.Not the white people....We pay cash fro ours cars...counld not buy a car made in the U.S.A. they :( when they saw us coming....and we to this day do not a car made in the U.S.A. AND WE HAVE A BETTER CAR ANYWAY..WE went to buy a house no one would sale it to us..So my mom when and got a lawyer.....and drove around and pick houses we like and sent the lawyer to but them and my mom pay cash...but my mom aunts said people that think like those people are the same people that kill God son!!!!

12:59PM PDT on Jun 19, 2010

A teacher should really be able to come up with a more professional way to handle an allergy than kicking a student out of her class (presumably DURING class, if she was placed in the hallway?)

10:43PM PDT on Jun 17, 2010

Pathetic. If the teacher had that much trouble with the girl's hair, she should have informed her boss. The parents could have been notified. It didn't say if this was the girl's first day in class, but the way the article reads, it seems that she'd been in the class for a while. So why now is it suddenly a problem? If the teacher really did feel faint, she should have left the room, gotten another teacher to take over, and, as I mentioned before, notified her supervisor. I'm sure that if the parents had been notified, that the parents would have found another hair product. Either that or they could have authorized a transfer to another classroom. Imagine what this will do to that little girl's self-esteem.

9:09PM PDT on Jun 17, 2010

Thanks

4:52PM PDT on Jun 17, 2010

Water - Aqua, Coconut Oil - Cocos Nucifera, Sorbitol, Trimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol , Petrolatum, Cyclomethicone, Peanut Oil - Arachi Hypogaea , Castor Oil - Ricinus Communis, Cetyl Esters, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Olive Oil - Olea Europaea, Stearic Acid, Triethanolamine, DMDM Hydantoin, Propylene Glycol, Methyl Paraben, Propyl Paraben, Carbomer , Cetearyl Alcohol , Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, PEG-25 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Fragrance - Parfum , Benzyl Alcohol , Benzyl Salicylate , Geraniol, Hexylcinnamicaldehyde, Lillial, D'Limonene, Linalool, Lyral, Alpha Isomethyl Ionone, BHT , Blue No. 1 - CI 42090, Yellow No. 5 - CI 19140

Parabens cause cancer ( and have been removed from many beauty products).

Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate- is an irritant and causes organ damage in animal studies.

SO many commentators here did not read the full article or comments, let alone click any of the links and read those articles and comments, to say nothing of doing any research, before making assumptions. Many of you assumed the teacher did not provide written notice of allergies or chemical sensitivity, when, in fact, there WAS written notice sent. OR that it was "badly handled", when it seems it was the parents, who, upon being notified about this specific problem in addition to the already mentioned general warning about chemical fragrance sensitivity, did not change a thing. Most assume racism without any insight further than the misleading headline.

Try harder, people.

4:41PM PDT on Jun 16, 2010

Being mixed myself and refusing to straighten my hair I had tonnes of problems from not only teachers but other kids. I say ROCK ON and don't let anyone make you change your mind. You need to be yourself and if the teacher is allergic..she can leave

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