The student, who has a Japanese mother and an American father, was not allowed to sit with the other graduates during the February graduation ceremony at a high school in Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture, and was instead isolated on the second floor where no other students were present.
The student had his hair braided, which is a traditional style in black culture, from where his father’s roots originate. As the number of children with diverse cultural backgrounds increases, questions may be raised about the rules and guidelines surrounding school dress codes and hairstyles.
During an interview, the student said, “It’s ridiculous to accuse of violating the dress code when people have diverse backgrounds and hair types. I want them to respect my heritage.” According to the student and his parents, he has curly hair that tends to expand horizontally.
Prior to the graduation ceremony, the teacher instructed all male students to “make sure their hair does not touch their ears.”
The school’s dress code specifies that hairstyles should be “clean and appropriate for high school students,” For male students, their hair should not touch their eyes, ears, or collar.
The day before the ceremony, the student visited a hair salon, taking into consideration his heritage and hair type, where he had his hair braided and shortened around his ears.
He sought advice from the stylist to prevent his hair from being too flashy and did not dye or attach any hair extensions.
However, on the morning of the graduation ceremony, several teachers questioned the student about his hairstyle, asking “What is this?” Despite explaining that he had ensured that his hair did not touch his ears, he was told that his hairstyle was “not in compliance with the dress code” and “not suitable for high school students.”
He was then kept waiting for about an hour in the student guidance office. Afterward, he was taken to the gymnasium where the ceremony had already started, and was asked to go to the second floor where no other students were present.
He was also instructed not to respond even if his name was called. The student believed that there was no point in being at the ceremony and left with his parents in the middle of the event.
The student was born in China and holds dual citizenship in Japan and the United States. His Black father criticized the school’s decision, stating that “braids are a way Black people style their hair, just like how Japanese people create a parting to style their hair. To prohibit a hairstyle based on its roots is discrimination.”
Braids, known as “cornrows,” are a traditional hairstyle originating from Africa. According to the father, in the United States, it is a widely accepted and hygienic hairstyle for Black children and women to wear their hair in its natural state.
The vice principal stated in an interview, “We are not denying traditional hairstyles, but have been providing guidance based on hair type. The student was not prevented from attending the graduation ceremony, but rather asked to sit in a different area.”
source: Yahoo News