Society

Boy Suspended For 'Gang-Related' Haircut

| by Alex Scarr

A sixth-grader in Houston was suspended from school for having two lines shaved into the side of his head.

"I was walking into class, and [my teacher] saw my hair and said, 'You can't have two lines in your hair. Go to the office,'" Xavier Davis told KPRC. He was told by school administrators that he had until the following weekend to fix his hair or he would be given an in-school suspension.

Xavier didn't believe the school's decision was fair because he'd had the haircut for months and was never approached by a teacher about it.

"He's had his hair cut like this for six months and now all of a sudden it's a problem?" said Xavier's father, Matt Davis.

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"He had a space here and a space there," Matt said. "[Xavier's mother] took a Sharpie permanent marker and colored the bottom of his hair in, so in order for him to get an education, we have to treat his hair like a coloring book, I guess."

The school district's dress code explicitly forbids haircuts that pose a distraction.

"Letters, symbols, and designs beyond a single straight line which draw attention to an individual shall not be permitted. The administrator/supervisor reserves the right to determine if a hairstyle is disruptive to the educational process," reads the district's dress code.

"I don't know if having one line or two is a distraction to learning, it's not a distraction to me," Matt said. "It's nonsense. We send him here to get an education. We send him here to learn. It's not about his haircut."

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In 2015, another Texas student was the subject of a haircut-related controversy. Kobi Esquivel, a middle schooler in Plainview, Texas, was ordered to color in a shaved line in his hair after school administrators believed it violated the dress code and could be representative of potential gang ties, according to KCBD.

"My son is not in a gang, he's not trying to be in a gang. He dresses in khakis, a shirt, not in loose pants or anything, just real nice and casual. He isn't representing a gang or anything," said his mother, Monica Esquivel. She demanded the school apologize to her son and that further steps to modernize the dress code be taken.

"When I got copies of the dress code, on there it says, designs shaved through the head, but I said it's not a design, it's the haircut. The style that's coming out is the comb-over," Monica said.

"They're expecting ... the kids, they get distracted on stuff, but it's starting to get where everything is a distraction to them."

Sources: KPRC, KCBD / Photo credit: Brandon Giesbrecht/ Flickr

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