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Lynn charter school bans students from wearing du-rags on campus

LYNN, MASS. (WHDH) - Students are criticizing a recent dress code change at their Lynn charter school after officials banned them from wearing du-rags on campus.

Jaeqhan McClain, a senior at KIPP Lynn High School said he has been wearing a du-rag in class for four years without any problems. This week, he said a teacher stopped him in the hallway and told him to remove it.

“One of my teachers stopped me in the hall and said it can’t be in sight at all,” said McClain. “I said, why’s this such a big deal? I get good grades, I’m on honor roll and I’ve been wearing my du-rag everyday.”

McClain ended up with two periods of detention and he and his classmates said they do not like the change.

“Obviously, we have the common sense not to wear a du-rag to a job interview,” said McClain. “We just want to be able to feel comfortable wearing our du-rag in school.”

Representatives of the non-profit charter school said their policy is similar to Boston Public Schools — banning any headgear that is not culturally or religiously significant. Nikki Barnes, the director of high schools and middle schools, said a du-rag is functional but added that the rules are up for debate.

Barnes said last year, school officials allowed female students to wear decorative hair dress after they challenged the rules.

“That’s what I’m waiting for, the compelling argument that a du-rag is actually cultural, it’s not just functional,” said Barnes.

McClain disagreed, saying a du-rag is cultural and he and several other students are going to keep wearing them out of defiance.

“The perception that they’re giving is that we’re a part of gangs because we wear du-rags,” said McClain.

School officials said they will be meeting with students on Friday to discuss the policy and any potential changes.