Classical Charter Schools Board of Trustees changes controversial grooming standards
BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The Board of Trustees for Classical Charter Schools of America voted unanimously Thursday to change part of the school’s grooming standards for boys.
Earlier this year, administrators told Ashley Lomboy that her son Logan’s hair was too long and needed to be cut to comply with the school’s standards. Logan is a student at Classical Charter Schools of Leland and a member of the Waccamaw Siouan tribe.
Lomboy says the school’s standards discriminate against her family’s Native American Culture and religious beliefs.
“I wouldn’t have thought that I would need to be fighting this hard to educate and to have my children and other children be included in a public school system,” Lomboy said. “It is a school of choice, but every school is a choice.”
The board voted to make one change to its grooming standards after the policy drew heavy criticism from parents and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The new policy says “Hair must be clean and off the collar, above the eyebrows, not below the top of the ears or eyebrows, and not an excessive height.”
According to the school’s handbook, the old policy said “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.” The difference between the two policies has been placed in bold.
“It addresses the issue that we’ve been concerned about, that the parents have expressed concerns about, and I think it allows us to move forward and do what we’re primarily here to do, which is educate kids,” said Trustee Chad Adams.
Lomboy says the change is minor and does not do enough to protect Native American students and their families.
“I don’t believe that the changes that they made are going to really be inclusive of Indigenous kids,” said Lomboy. “I think it was a step of acknowledging that there are some changes that need to be made, but did not go far enough to make us feel welcomed at the school.”
Lomboy says she will likely find a new school for her children to attend in the fall, concerned about how the policy will impact others down the road.
“His hair is a part of him,” said Lomboy. “It’s nothing that we ever even thought about to be quite honest, because it’s just a part of our way of life. And the reason why we’re even doing this is because he loves the school and we hoped that by educating that they would make the changes necessary. That didn’t happen fully today.”
This is not the first time Classical Charter Schools of America has been accused of discrimination. In 2022, a federal appeals court ruled that the school, then called Charter Day School, was required to comply with federal laws that apply to traditional public schools and could not require girls to wear skirts.
Classical Charter Schools of America has petitioned the Supreme Court to “review and reverse” the appeals court ruling.
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