Just weeks before summer recess, 17-year-old Jenesis Johnson was told by her teacher at North Florida Christian School in Florida that the afro she’d been wearing for the past seven months needed to be “fixed,” WCTV reports.
“She said that my hair needs to be fixed, it was not neat and needs to be put in a style. My hair is fixed,” Johnson told WCTV of her teacher’s comments. The school district declined to provide comment to HuffPost. Johnson had not provided HuffPost with a comment at the time of publication.
Jenesis said the teacher told her that her hair was a distraction to classmates, despite the fact that she said she sits in the back of the classroom. She said the teacher asked her how long she’d been planning to wear her hair in an afro while in front of other students.
Jenesis’ peers then began asking their own questions about her hair.
Johnson told the station she was told to report to the assistant principal’s office two days later. View a video of the report above, or head to WCTV.
“[The assistant principal] said: ‘Your hair is extreme and faddish and out of control. It’s all over the place,’” Johnson said.
According to WCTV, the school’s handbook states that hairstyles can be deemed unacceptable by the school.
“No faddish or extreme hairstyles, and hair should be neat and clean at all times,” the book is said to read. “The administration will make the decision on any questionable styles.”
But Johnson’s mom took that to mean something else in her daughter’s case.
“You might say that it didn’t fit the handbook,” Lisa Johnson said. “But what she heard is a woman telling her is that she’s not pretty; her hair does not fit society.”
According to Ms. Johnson, the school said Jenesis was allowed to finish her last week at the school but the school told her that if her daughter didn’t change her hairstyle, they’d be giving Ms. Johnson a refund for the next school semester.
This story comes just weeks after two Massachusetts teens were sent to detention for wearing braids.