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Tulsa girl, 7, switches schools over dreadlocks deemed 'unacceptable'

Deborah Brown Community School in Tulsa, Olka., had a problem with Tiana Parker's dreaded hair.
Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   Sept. 5, 2013 at 7:22 PM   |   Comments

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Sept. 5 (UPI) -- An Oklahoma charter school's strict hairstyle policy brought Tiana Parker, a 7-year-old from Tulsa, to tears in a Tuesday interview with local news station KOKI-TV.

"They didn't like my dreads," she explained.

Tiana's father, Terrance, told reporters that Deborah Brown Community School, which has a policy against dreadlocks and other "faddish" hairstyles, hassled him so much about his daughter's small dreads that he had her switch schools.

Terrance, a barber, said he always "takes pride" in his children's appearance, and resented the implication that Tiana looked anything less than "presentable." He insisted that she'd worn her hair the same way the previous year without any complaints.

Deborah Brown's parent-student handbook specifically prohibits dreadlocks. "Hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros and other faddish styles are unacceptable," it reads.

A representative from the school denied Parker's assertion that Tiana had worn her hair similarly the year before, saying that the school yearbook proved otherwise.

"The parent of the student in question elected to choose a forbidden hairstyle which is detailed in the school policy," the school official said in a statement to Yahoo! Shine. "The parent was asked to change the hairstyle, however on Friday, August 30th, the parent choose to dis-enroll her child from our program."

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