Parents at a Louisiana Catholic school are complaining that a text message that the principal sent out to remind them of the school dress code contained offensive language. The principal has since apologized.
The parents of students in kindergarten through seventh grade at Redemptorist Elementary School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said they received a text message from the school's principal, Erica Walker, on Feb. 24 reminding them that male students needed to adhere to school policy regarding hair length, WBRZ reported.
"I understand that the boys want to follow the latest fashion trend, however the 'Nappy, Uncombed, Picked/Sponged look Must Go!" the text reportedly read.
"It is getting out of hand. If their haircut is higher than [one inch] it must be cut."
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Kirsten Brooks, the mother of a 6-year-old boy who attends the school, said that the principal's choice of words was questionable.
"She should have known better than to use those terms…nappy," Kirsten told WBRZ.
The boy's grandmother, Mary Brooks, agreed that the language used in the text had offensive racial connotations.
"To say that word, nappy, in a text, let me know that she was a person that just didn't care as far as what she said and I figured if you put it in writing, you'll say it just as well to the children and that's just not right," Mary commented, according to WBRZ.
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Walker has since apologized for her poorly worded text, according to another WBRZ article.
In a letter sent home to parents on Feb. 26, Walker explained that her original message was meant to alert parents to school policy and matched the regulations written in the student handbook word for word.
She also invited parents to call the school if they had any questions.
According to the dress code as described in the school handbook, boys are required to wear their hair in a "traditional, conservative cut" and the length must be above the shirt collar in back and above the eyebrows in front.
The dress code also specifically bans mohawks, afros, shaved heads, braids, and tails.
The Brooks' said that the principal's text message did not match the language of the handbook, in spite of her claims to the contrary.
"If she had referred to the handbook instead of making this a personal issue, I would have felt better about it," Mary told WBRZ.
The Brooks' son, who is on the honor roll, said his curly hair is a form of expression. His mother said he will not be getting a haircut.