Faith Fennidy, an 11-year-old student, has always worn her hair in thick braids with extensions to her New Orleans Catholic school in Terrytown, Louisiana, according to her mother, Montrelle Fennidy.
But on Monday, the Christ the King Elementary School student was sent home because she was in violation of an appearance code that prohibits extensions.
Her brother, sixth-grade student Steven Evergreen Fennidy, posted a video of her leaving the campus in tears that has social media in an uproar over the recently added school policy.
"I hate that I have to post this. But this just isn't right. This is an issue we tried to resolve with the school, but they won't compromise at all," Steven wrote in his Facebook post.
"Over the summer the school has sneakily added in a policy, that no extensions, clip-ins or weaves are allowed. Faith got a notice on the first day of class and it's ridiculous that these schools that we are PAYING for, will go in and make policies without consulting or trying to figure out how this will affect your life or your child's life."
Steven explained that having extensions allows his sister to enjoy the swimming pool without the hassle of getting her hair re-done that night. He asked why the school would alter their grooming policy without consultation.
"It's because you don't care and it's just one more barrier to entry for black people. This decision is going to affect black children more than white children."
"This decision is going to affect black children more than white children," Steven Evergreen Fennidy, the girl's br… https://t.co/lyRew2YXh8— Project Appleseed (@Project Appleseed)1534975800.0
@nytimes I'm sure her hair extensions were making it hard for her and the other students to learn, and they probabl… https://t.co/dCpEnd2M3x— Art by Yamasaki (@Art by Yamasaki)1534955399.0
Faith is seen in the video leaving the school and crying over the humiliation of being sent home because of her hair.
A woman's voice is heard in the classroom saying, "I don't want this to happen," while another says, "What's wrong with her hair? Her hair is fine."
@JJ_Stellies @nytimes Why does it matter how people chose to wear there hair!— Simeon Odugwu (@Simeon Odugwu)1534936313.0
Faith's family is trying to console her as she makes her way into the car.
The family told Eyewitness News they were uninformed of the new policy. According to Christ the King Elementary School's parent-student handbook, the new rule states:
"Boys and girls: only the student's natural hair is permitted. Extensions, wigs, hair pieces of any kind are not allowed."
@nytimes @morgfair Ridiculous! She’s there to learn not to be judged on her hair!— Peggy K Ⓥ 🌱 (@Peggy K Ⓥ 🌱)1534919819.0
However, the Archdiocese of New Orleans Superintendent RaeNell Houston allegedly informed parents of the newly implemented policy over the summer, and again the day before classes began.
@nytimes @morgfair ...because learning firsthand that we are a racist nation is an important part of curriculum in schools?— Mary Horn (@Mary Horn)1534926781.0
@nytimes How ridiculous and sad that a rule about hair extensions and braids are deemed necessary to facilitate a b… https://t.co/GACzrDbF5h— Gail Hineline (@Gail Hineline)1534969615.0
People on social media saw the incident targeting a specific culture as an undeniable case of discrimination.
@nytimes This is becoming a familiar scene at segregation academies. It’s racism.— Resistor65853516 (@Resistor65853516)1534936514.0
@nytimes False Christianity. What would Jesus do? Not toss the girl@out of school. Racism masked as Christianity is… https://t.co/M3mOktVIPA— TrojanUSCgirl (@TrojanUSCgirl)1534947209.0
Amber Ward, owner of NolaBraider hair salon, spoke out against the controversial appearance guideline and said that hair extensions was a practice that is a part of the black community.
"When it comes to sports, when it comes to different activities having your hair braided is more of a convenience. When it's properly done, it makes their hair grow. Hair braiding is apart of our culture, it goes back for thousands of years."
Dr. Rashida Govan, the Executive Director of Project Butterfly New Orleans, told Eyewitness News that banning hair extensions is asking for black people to deny their culture and identities.
"I think it sends a message that you are not acceptable in the way you show up, who you are is not acceptable because that is a part of who we are with these hairstyles."
"So if you want to continue to operate in this community, you better reconsider any policy that suggests to young people that who they are isn't valuable."
@nytimes I've seen the excited jubilation of a daughter with new hair, having fallen to the myth of hair-life ident… https://t.co/832B6FalwX— Tom Daley (@Tom Daley)1534923350.0
The family is planning on filing a discrimination law suit against the Jefferson Parish school on Tuesday.