BLACK VOICES

Eighth-Grader Sent To Principal’s Office For Her Natural Hair Being 'Too Poofy'

A Toronto principal told the teen that her hair was unprofessional.

A Toronto teen was called to the principal's office last week because her natural hair was "too poofy," according to her aunt's Facebook post.

I wake up this morning to my sister telling me that my wonderful, beautiful niece was told that she needs to change her...

Posted by Kaysie Quansah on Friday, November 6, 2015

Kaysie Quansah wrote that her niece was "was reduced to tears" in the principal's office. City News spoke with Quansah's sister, Teresa, who explained that principal Tracey Barnes, a black woman, called her to tell her that her thirteen-year-old daughter's hair was "too poofy" and "unprofessional." She said the principal went on to add that she would have to stay in the office if she returned to school with her hair down. Normally, the eighth-grader wears her hair in braids or pulled back, according to her mom. Teresa said her daughter had been repeatedly chastised by the principal before this recent incident. 

“I didn’t see what the big deal was about my hair because it wasn’t bothering anybody,” the young girl told City News. “I was just doing my work, so I didn’t see why I had to be pulled out of the class.”

The family didn't respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post.

Ryan Bird, communications officer for Toronto District School Board, sent HuffPost a statement that said he could not go into the details of the story for privacy reasons, "but we are aware that the principal spoke with a student about their hair last week."

"The school and superintendent are following up with the family to address any concerns they may have," he added. "Hair is not covered by the TDSB or school’s dress code."

Quansah told City News that she had conflicting emotions when she found out principal Barnes was a black woman. She said that the principal's negative comments about her niece's hair seems to her "like it was drilled in [Barnes] when she was younger or when she was growing up and now she's projecting that onto little black girls that may have reminded her of herself." 

Despite the principal's views, Quansah said she wants her to niece to learn that "beauty starts from within."

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