“If one person tells you that you have a tail, ignore them; If millions of people tell you — look behind you.”
This is very fitting and makes this situation all-the-more clear. It is clear that there are no previously justified parallels to “separate but equal” revolving around Deandre Arnold’s dreadlocks; nor is it 1971. What is contrarily paralleling to the decades-old ideation are the antics and strategies employed to diminish and criminalize Deandre Arnold to such educational blackmail. That is the only parallel. BHISD’s hair policy is as archaic and obsolete as “separate but equal,” and possibly, Jim Crow. Both of which were unfortunately legal at the time, hence “upholding the land of the law” falls short of its expected grace while highlighting that BHISD has gotten this all wrong. Schools districts near and far understand that schools are sanctuaries of learning and commit themselves to making their school sanctuaries for all students, appealing to no one demographic, but ensuring that it is an equitable environment for child-centered learning. It is time to analyze and mitigate the school district’s shortcomings by decriminalizing the punitive course. That takes leadership, the righteous kind.
Considering BHISD is touted by its very own, Greg Poole, as “one of the fastest growing school districts in the state,” we must recognize that the challenges of the past are inadequate for governing the circumstances of the future. Rules, made for and by, men and women many, many years ago carelessly marks this as an easy,” rules are rules [situation],” but we all recognize tactical guise when we see it and the message is clear. If a rule created during the era of “separate but equal” and Jim Crow proves legitimate in current times—the message is unfortunate and crystal clear while setting a disturbing precedent for students for years to come. That is not a tradition of excellence.
Excellence is required from BHISD’s leadership and I know that they have it in them. And no, the texture, style nor length of their hair will determine how excellent they prove themselves to be.
Originally from Mont Belvieu,
currently living in Jonesboro, Arkansas