Mother frustrated after charter school says her son’s hair is too long; school responds
“We would not sacrifice our culture”
LELAND, N.C. (WECT) - Logan Lomboy is a first-grade student at Classical Charter Schools of Leland. His mother, Ashley Lomboy, says her son’s long hair is a family tradition.
“We are from the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe,” said Lomboy. “It’s a part of our culture to have long hair. We understood starting the school that, you know, we had to keep the hair off the ears and off the collar, which, we’ve been doing that with a bun. But they said that the bun is now considered a fad.”
The Classical Charter Schools’ 2022-2023 handbook says, for boys: “Hair must be neatly trimmed and off the collar, above the eyebrows, not below the top of the ears or eyebrows, and not an excessive height. Distracting, extreme, radical, or faddish haircuts, hairstyles, and colors are not allowed.”
School administrators told Lomboy that Logan’s hair needed to be in line with the school’s policy by March 29. She then filed a grievance, stating that his long hair is part of the family’s Native American culture and religious beliefs.
That grievance was originally denied, but Lomboy was later informed that the board of trustees would be holding a meeting to discuss the situation. Lomboy was not told when that meeting would be.
“In a time where, as Waccamaw Siouan people and natives across the state, we have been working to revitalize our culture, long hair is a part of that, and it’s a part of resiliency for our people,” said Lomboy. “And Logan feels confident in his hair, every time I braid his hair. He’s like, ‘Mommy, I love my braids!’”
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina also sent a letter to the board, warning that the current policy discriminates against Logan and other Native American students.
“The problem here, at least in our understanding, is not necessarily that there is any student code of conduct, it’s that the way this code of conduct as being interpreted and applied makes the student’s access to a public school contingent on his, you know, his willingness to violate his own religious beliefs,” said ACLU Attorney Fellow Sam Davis.
Lomboy says if the board ultimately decides that Logan will not be able to keep his long hair and return to class, she will have to find a new school for him.
“We would not sacrifice our culture to attend the school,” said Lomboy.
Classical Charter Schools of America responded in a statement on March 22 in defense of its standards for boys’ haircuts.
“Our schools have procedures for dealing with matters such as these. A review is underway and will be considered by the Board on April 27. Instead of respecting the process, the ACLU has jumped in with threats and accusations that drive people apart, rather than bring them together,” said Baker A. Mitchell, president and CEO of the Roger Bacon Academy which manages four CCS-A schools.
The statement claims the ACLU is trying “’to drive a wedge between school families and administrators ‘with trumped-up charges’ of discrimination and civil-rights violations.”
Classical Charter Schools was also the subject of a federal appeals court ruling last year, in a case where judges ruled that the school could not require girls to wear skirts and had to abide by the same sex discrimination laws as non-charter public schools.
Below is the ACLU’s full letter sent to the Classical Charter Schools Board of Trustees Monday:
ACLU Letter by nick.aziz on Scribd
Copyright 2023 WECT. All rights reserved.