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BY Francis Akhalbey, 9:03am May 29, 2023,

Principal asks student if his braided hair meant he’s a gangster

A principal asked a 7th-grader if his braided hair meant he's a gangster -- Photo Credit: Ashely Thorn/NOLA.com

The parents of a 7th-grade student said they’ve decided to transfer their son from his current school after his principal asked him if his braided hair meant he’s a gangster. In an interview with NOLA.com, the parents of the Louisiana-based Calvary Baptist school student said they were left dumbfounded after they learned about the principal’s remarks.

“I picked him up, just like normal and asked how was your day? How did your friends like your braids?” Ashely Thorn, the mother of the Black student, said. “We’re driving out of the parking lot and he said the principal pulled him aside today and asked if his braids represented being a gangster.”

Little Dalon’s parents also said the principal’s comments were troubling because braided hair isn’t a violation of the school’s policy. “You don’t think you have to prep your child or even think of something like that for something that’s so small,” said Thorn.

Dalon’s parents said initial efforts to get in touch with principal Angelyn Mesman after they got to know about the incident proved futile. They, however, said they met Mesman the day after the incident, and their conversation with the principal was also recorded.

In the recording, Mesman said she had a private conversation with Dalon in an effort to prevent him from any kind of embarrassment, adding that she also wanted to ascertain what his braids stood for.

“I’ve never had a student wear their braids like that. I’ve had teachers personally come to me and ask about his hair and what I thought about it,” Mesman is heard saying in the recording.

She adds: “I have seen children grow up in this school and I’ve seen them change, so I was just checking to see where we are. I just wanted to see his heart. Our culture is changing. Little boys used to have regular little haircuts.”

During the conversation, Mesman is also heard making multiple references to how youth culture is changing and how Dalon can fall prey to it. “I’m seeing a lot of young people listening to a lot of rappers pushing for drugs and doing things opposite of Christ,” she says.

Despite the explanation, Dalon’s parents said they could not fathom how their son’s hairstyle caused him to be pulled away to be asked about the reason behind wearing braids, NOLA.com reported.

Dalon’s parents said Mesman’s lack of cultural understanding was one of the factors behind their decision to withdraw their son from the school.

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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