Proposed Greenwood ISD grooming code sparks controversy

GREENWOOD -- Some community members in Greenwood are outraged about a proposed school dress/ grooming code change they believe is racially discriminatory.

A Greenwood mother with two 16-year-old sons was shocked when an administrator at Greenwood High School told her that son wouldn’t be allowed to play in a football game Friday because of his hair style.

Greenwood Mother Mikayla Cross said that last May, her son, Trey, said he wanted to braid his hair in corn rows for the year.

“They called me about a week before school started and said he would be allowed to wear his braids, as long as we were following the rules of it being off the eyebrow, ears, and collar,” she said.

Cross said they’ve followed the dress/ grooming code perfectly. But on Wednesday, she was told to pick her son up from school, because braids were not allowed.

“They said that the school board had met again, and decided that there would be no more braids,” she said.

Cross said the high school principal initially told her the rules changed, and that students could not have braided hair, or hair taller than two inches.

Cross said she was also told that if Trey kept his hair braided, he would not be allowed to play in the football game on Friday.

The mother then contacted the superintendent and met with him Thursday afternoon.

“And he told me that today that rule has not actually been passed,” she said.

Cross said the superintendent told her the dress/ grooming code change is only proposed. He added that the two new rules will be voted on at the next school board meeting.

“I don’t want them creating these two new rules that are specifically targeting my kids, and the few other mixed kids in this school, that would be the only ones affected by it,” she said.

Greenwood High School Sophomore, Nolan Kirby, said he will be speaking at the school board meeting because he believes the rules are discriminatory.

“This was the thing that really pushed it over. Because the other thing was just my hair being too long, looking shabby. And now it is just racial discrimination,” he said.

Kirby added that many of his friends are also concerned about the proposed changes. The high school student said that a group of students jumped into action, eager to sign a petition or speak out against the changes.

“Because the only people who have hair that naturally goes two inches above their head or usually put their hair in corn rows, or braids, are the black students we have. It wouldn’t usually be the white students. That is discrimination and that’s not okay,” he said.

Cross said the superintendent and principal have been extremely helpful in clarifying the issue, and assured her that Trey will be allowed to play in the game on Friday with his hair braided.

CBS7 attempted to speak with the district, but were unable to reach them at the time of the airing of this broadcast.

The Greenwood Independent School District will be holding a Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, October 15. The meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Greenwood High School Distance Learning Center.