A mother is upset after her son was sent home from the first day of school for having hair that was "too long."
Jessica Oates sent her 4-year-old son off for his first day of school Aug. 21, only to have him sent home after his hair was deemed too long to fit within the parameters of the dress code, according to WPVI.
"He’s never had a haircut. It’s just kind of a part of his identity,” Oates told KTRK. She mentioned that she was notified of the school's policy about long hair prior to registration, requiring a religious or cultural exemption to allow it.
But before she could write one, Oates said, she received a note from school officials telling her not to send her son back until they had cut his hair. She said she tried putting her son's hair in a bun but that also infringed upon the requirements, which state that a boy's hair must be above his eyes, ears, and neck.
"That’s who he is," Oates argued, defending her son's hair that falls a few inches below his shoulders. "I don’t believe in it. I will not cut his hair. I don’t believe that short hair should be required to get an education.”
The school district released a statement defending the board's choices but did not name specifics.
"Our local elected Board has established policy based on community expectations, and Barbers Hill administration will continue to implement the said policy," read the statement. Oates said she will continue to fight the school board's decision.
Commenters around Facebook offered their thoughts on Oates' situation, with sentiment split on the school board's ability to make rules determining hair length.
"There is a dress code for a reason," wrote one commenter. "Follow it, or go somewhere else. Is he going to have mommy throw a fit when he's out in the real world and doesn't agree with the dress code at his big boy job too? Get a real problem."
"I'm sorry, but what's next, the girls have to have hair past their shoulders?? This is the least of anyone's problems in school," offered another. "The hair does NOT keep him from learning or behaving. This is an outdated rule that should have been changed decades ago," they said.
"Really. This is what the schools are worried about," questioned a third. "How about fights, no discipline. drugs, gangs, low scores. This child is 4 yrs old. Keep the mother happy. This little one will tell Mom when enough is enough."
It was not immediately clear if Oates planned to transfer her son to a different school.