Malden charter school backs off ban of hair braid extensions

MALDEN, Mass. (WHDH/AP) — A Massachusetts charter school that came under fire for what some students and parents considered a racist policy of banning hair braid extensions has suspended the rule.

The Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden backed off the provision in its hair/makeup rules after trustees met Sunday.

The decision follows a state attorney general letter to the school, saying the policy was illegal because it singles out students of color.

The American Civil Liberties Union had also filed a complaint against the school with the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, saying the rule is discriminatory.

The issue came to light when the parents of twin 15-year-old black girls said their daughters were punished for wearing extensions, while white students hadn’t been punished for violations of hairstyle regulations.

The board members made a unanimous decision Sunday to suspend the hair section of the uniform policy. A spokesperson made the following statement:

“The Mystic Valley Regional Charter School Board of Trustees unanimously voted tonight to suspend the hair section of the uniform policy for the remainder of the school year. The school will continue to work with the Attorney General’s office to ensure that the uniform policy reflects our long standing to the rights of all of our students. Students who are either currently serving consequences or accruing them, may immediately resume all before and after school activities. All of these actions are effective immediately.”

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