A Catholic school in Louisiana and the Archdiocese of New Orleans have advanced a legal battle over their hairstyle policy to federal court.
Christ the King Parish School and the archdiocese argued that a case involving the alleged violation of constitutional rights demands a place on the docket of a federal court. The lawsuit was lodged by the families of two black students who were denied access to class for refusing to remove their hair extensions.
The school, however, insists that it has since changed its controversial policy. Faith Fennidy, a sixth grader at Christ The King Parish School in Terrytown, was shocked when she returned to school to discover that its policy on hairstyles had been altered. The new rules prohibited the wearing of hair extensions, clip-ins or weaves.
“[They] don’t care and it’s just one more barrier to entry for black people,” Faith’s brother, Steven, said on Facebook following the incident. “This decision is going to affect black children more than white children.”
Rapper TI also responded to the bizarre incident, calling the school “deplorable.”
“How do you feel that this is a proper representation of what Jesus Christ the King & how he would want us to treat our children?” he wrote in an expletive-laden Instagram post. “You should be ashamed of yourselves…although I know you aren’t. This young lady is beautiful and her hair is perfectly fine.”
Posted by Steven Evergreen Fennidy on Monday, August 27, 2018
As the story began to gain momentum in the mainstream media, the Archdiocese of New Orleans released a statement through WGNO-TV clarifying its policy:
“Archdiocese of New Orleans schools develop policies appropriate for their respective schools. Christ the King Elementary School has a policy that states: ‘Boys and Girls: Only the students’ natural hair is permitted.’
This policy was communicated to all parents during the summer and again before the first day of school, and was applied to all students. Furthermore, the school leadership worked with families as needed to ensure compliance.”
School administrators noted that Faith’s family was informed of her policy violation when she returned to class after the summer break. However, when she showed up to class the next day with hair extensions still attached, she was promptly escorted out of the classroom. As a result, Faith’s family decided to withdraw her from the school.