“CUT IT, PIN IT, OR PUT HIM IN A DRESS”: Tatum ISD parents outraged at new dress code

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TATUM, Tyler (KETK)- Tatum ISD parents are outraged, claiming the school board changed the dress code discriminating against African American boys.

Concerned community members attend Monday’s Tatum ISD board meeting demanding the board to change the dress code.

During a Monday night Tatum ISD board meeting, concerned parents and members of the community, packed into the building holding signs.

“I will be here at every board meeting. I will fight to get all the rules changed,” said Randi Woodley talking directly to the school board.

Woodley says she went in front of the board to advocate for her grandson, a child she has had custody of since he was 4 months old.

Back in August of 2018, Woodley claims her grandson attended a Meet the Teacher meeting when she was notified there was a problem with his hair.

“I was told that I needed to see the principal. so I went to the principal’s office where she explained to me that my grandson’s hair was too long,” explained Woodley.

During the meeting, Woodley addressed Superintendent, Dr. J.P. Richardson, claiming during a one on one meeting with him, he gave her 3 options.

“He told me that I could either cut it, braid it and pin it up, or put my grandson in a dress and send him to school, and when prompted my grandson must say he’s a girl,” said Woodley.

Tatum ISD Student Dress Code, as displayed on their website.

She’s pointing to what she believes is a problem in the school’s “dress code.” That states, “no ponytails, ducktails, rat-tails, male buns, or puffballs are allowed on male students.” The dress code continues to write that hair for a male “shouldn’t extend past the top of a t-shirt collar.”

“My son came home, saying mom, I think there’s something wrong with my hair,” said Kambry Cox, another parent who is asking the school board to re-think the rules.

Cox explains her kindergarten son Kellan was told his hair couldn’t be in a ponytail.

Tatum ISD Kindergarten Student Kellan Cox, holds sign after Board Meeting.

“With my son’s dreadlocks, sometimes they do fall in front of his face, so I felt it would be easier to put his hair up, but then that’s a problem,” explained Cox.

During an interview with KETK, Cox talks about how she understands the rules of not allowing hair to fall in his face, but with the hot weather in Texas, she claims it shouldn’t be a problem to put it up and out of his face.

Now, with parents taking a stand, they hope this sends a message to their children.

“I teach him to be his own individual, and I don’t think he should ever feel insecure,” said Cox.

Cox, along with many other parents, expressed that having a young boy change his hair sends the wrong message. Explaining, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with wearing your hair the way it naturally grows.

“We shouldn’t even be talking about this at any age, because hair has nothing to do with learning,” expressed Woodley.

After reaching out to Tatum ISD Superintendent KETK was told there would be no comment at this moment.

Woodley has created an online campaign to sign a petition urging others to not allow a four-year-old to be “bullied into cutting his hair. If you would like to sign the petition CLICK HERE.

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