Schools across the nation began classes this week. The school district in Seminole faced a test on its first day, as it balanced its Code of Conduct with its Policy of Non-Discrimination.
The town of Seminole (just north of Andrews) is named after the Native American people – a man in traditional headdress is the mascot for the schools’ sports teams, the “Indians.”
On Monday morning, kindergartener Malachi Wilson was sent home, because his hair was too long.
The five-year-old is part of the Navajo Nation and wears his hair long for cultural reasons.
According to the Code of Conduct: “boy’s hair…may not extend…below the top of a T-shirt.” Malachi’s hair drapes halfway down his back.
“Hair is sacred to us,” the boy’s mother April Wilson told CBS 7. “It makes us part of who we are.”
Wilson returned to the school with certification from the Navajo Nation., and the Seminole School District eventually admitted the boy, citing a policy that allows exceptions to the dress code for religious beliefs.
Wilson says she will be looking into the possibility of hiring a lawyer to pursue a discrimination case against the district, but the district maintains it followed all the necessary and proper procedures for exempting a student from the school’s dress code.