A Texas mother is outraged because her daughter’s school gave the 7-year-old a henna tattoo the week before Christmas.
Ed White Elementary School in Seabrook, Texas, was celebrating Multicultural Day, where students learned about cultures of Spain, the United States, Israel and Australia, KHOU reported. They were also celebrating Hindu culture, offering students henna tattoos.
Leah Samour, 7, was among the students who received a henna tattoo.
“I saw her hands were decorated and asked her what is this and she said it's henna,” Leah's mother Tammy Samour told KHOU. “I didn't know what that was.”
Henna tattoos are temporary designs applied to the hands and feet of women during Hindu ceremonies and festivals. The painted-on dye can take a few days to fade and fully wash off.
“We tried to get it off and it didn't budge,” Samour explained.
Samour said she never gave the school permission to tattoo Leah. She also said that connections she discovered between Hindu and Muslim faiths concerned her.
“It's upsetting to go through Christmas with another religion's celebratory symbolism all over my daughter's hands,” Samour explained.
Ed White Elementary School said it notified parents of Multicultural Day via email. The school even mentioned that students would be getting henna tattoos in the email.
Samour told KPRC that she did receive that email from the school, but said it made no difference because she and her husband had never heard of henna tattoos.
“Learning about culture is awesome, but I don't want it tattooed on my daughter, it is not our culture,” Samour said. “Especially that Christmas is next week. We have family photos, opening presents, church, and she is going to be wearing that on her hands throughout the holiday.”
Samour said she and one of the teachers spent two days scrubbing Leah’s hands with every cleaning product they could find, to no avail.
The school said it accepted responsibility for not explaining to parents what henna tattoos were.
“We certainly will do a better job in the future to make sure that parents are informed of what this is and how long it will take [for the dye to wash off], and again we regret that this family is upset about it,” Clear Creek Independent School District director of communications Elaina Polsen told the news station. “This is intended to celebrate diversity and not to be divisive.”