Target: The Seminole Independent School District Superintendent Doug Harriman
Goal: Apologize to boy who was sent home for having long hair, and revisit sexist policy about hair length
Malachi Wilson, a five-year-old Navajo was recently sent home from his first day of kindergarten in Seminole, Texas for having hair that the school considered “too long.” The school administration should immediately rectify its ignorant and offensive actions.
The young boy was sent home on the first day of school by the school officials who considered his hair to be too long for a boy. The Seminole Independent School District officials defend their actions by arguing that they were just following procedure by rejecting the boy from school. Malachi’s parents were offended by this incident, reporting that “Our hair is sacred to us; it makes us who we are.” Once the Native American nation to which Malachi belonged contacted the school, they accepted him back into the school, but this incident still never should have occurred.
The school should have informed the child of the policy and asked for religious verification prior to the first day of school to save the child from embarrassment and rejection. It can even be argued that the school’s policy against long hair on boys is wrong as it inhibits creative freedom and promotes sexism among children.
The Seminole Independent School District should reevaluate their sexist policies and allow their students to express themselves. It is also important that they apologize for the incident and do all they can to make Malachi feel welcome and accepted at the school.
Dear Doug Harriman,
As you are aware, five-year-old Malachi Wilson was sent home on his first day of kindergarten because of sexist policies on hair length. According to the school, Malachi’s hair was too long to be acceptable for a male child regardless of the many long-haired female children at the school. To make the matter worse, the reason Malachi’s hair is long is due to his Navajo religion, which forbids the cutting of hair that is considered sacred.
Regardless of the fact that Malachi was allowed back at school after providing proof of religion, this incident should have been avoided in the first place. Assuming the school meets with children upon registration, Malachi and his parents should have been informed of the policy and asked for proof of religion. The policy should not even exist in general due to its sexist nature and the fact that it inhibits creative expression in students.
We encourage you to review your policy and consider changing it to make it fair and accepting towards all children. We also ask that you apologize to Malachi and his family for the incident and do all that you can to make him feel welcome and accepted in your school system.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Jc Oliveira via Flickr