TYLER, Texas — According to a Texas grandmother, the administrators at her grandson's school said the boy's hair doesn't conform with the district's dress code and that he told her to either cut her grandson's hair or put him in a dress.
Randi Woodley said she has raised her grandson since he was 4 months old. Michael Trimble, who is now 4, attends Tatum Independent School District's Head Start program, the Longview News-Journal reported.
When the child was at a recent "meet the teacher" event, multiple media outlets reported the principal called Woodley to her office and told her that her grandson's hairstyle was not permitted, citing the school's dress code.
Woodley said she was given three options by the superintendent.
"He told me that I could either cut it, braid it and pin it up, or put my grandson in a dress and send him to school, and when prompted, my grandson must say he's a girl," Woodley said, according to KETK.
Another parent said her son who wears his hair in dreadlocks was told that his hair couldn't be in a ponytail.
"With my son's dreadlocks, sometimes they do fall in front of his face, so I felt it would be easier to put his hair up, but then that's a problem," Kambry Cox told KETK.
The dress code specifically spells out, "No ponytails, ducktails, rat-tails, male buns, or puffballs are allowed on male students." Hair cannot be past the top of the collar of a T-shirt, according to the rules, KETK reported.
Cox said the rule discriminates against African American boys, the News-Journal reported.
"That's saying black kids cannot wear their hair up period, because I've never seen a white kid have puffballs," Cox told the News-Journal. "(It) becomes a problem for me because my son has dreadlocks, and they kind of fall in his eyes, so sometimes we might do a ponytail or a braid. But that's a problem also because it states they cant' have man buns or ponytails"
Parents and caregivers said the school shouldn't dictate the students' hairstyles.
"We shouldn't even be talking about this at any age, because hair has nothing to do with learning," Woodley said, according to KETK.
The Tatum Independent School District superintendent was contacted by KETK but did not give the television station a comment.
Superintendent J.P. Richardson was also contacted by the News-Journal and declined to speak with the newspaper.
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