Like most 6-year-old kids, C.J. Stanley was excited to attend the first day of school. However, his thirst to learn was thwarted by a group of adults who banned him from attending school because of his dreadlocks.
The incident occurred at a Book’s Christian Academy in Orlando, Florida. C.J.’s father, Clinton Stanley, recorded the ordeal on Facebook Live. In the video, Clinton showed C.J., who looked sad and confused, as several teachers would not allow him into the classroom.
“My son just got told that he cannot attend the school with his hair,” Clinton told his viewers. “If that’s not biased, I don’t know what is.”
A school administrator told Clinton that the school’s handbook states that male students must have “hair above the ears.” Clinton responded by saying that the handbook does not specifically reference dreadlocks. He also asked if he could put the boy’s hair in a ponytail, but the school administrators would not allow it.
Clinton told his viewers that the handbook stated that, “Since all children are created in the image of God, no student will be denied admission because of race, color or national origin.”
The video eventually went viral and several activists spoke up on C.J.’s behalf.
Activist Shaun King posted on Twitter, “School literally told a local reporter ‘we have Christian standards to uphold.’ They’ve confused Christian with white. The school has pictures of white Jesus and white disciples with long hair everywhere. According to their images, long-hair should be preferred.”
Discrimination based on racial hair texture is a national issue. On May 16, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider a lawsuit against Catastrophe Management Systems issued by Chastity Jones. Jones, a Black woman, said she suffered racial discrimination when the company rescinded a job offer because Jones wouldn’t cut off her dreadlocks.
Clinton eventually decided to enroll C.J. into a public school.