A 13-year-old Toronto girl was stunned when her principal pulled her out of class because of her natural hair.
The girl was sitting in class and doing her work when Barnes told her that her hair was too “too poofy” and “unprofessional,” according to the girl’s aunt’s description of the event on Facebook.
The young girl was also allegedly told that she needed to either pull her hair back or spend the period in the principal’s office.
“I didn’t see what the big deal was about my hair because it wasn’t bothering anybody,” the girl told Toronto reporter Avery Haines. “I was just doing my work, so I didn’t see why I had to be pulled out of the class.”
The girl’s aunt, Kaysie Quansah, took to Facebook to vent her frustration about the incident, saying:
This ignorant principal demonstrated firsthand the heartbreaking ideals of beauty that are forced on our little dark skinned black girls on a consistent basis. My heart is breaking for my niece and all the little girls like her who already know that there is an unspoken ideal for ‘good hair’, who already know that the darker your skin, the more undesirable you are lead to feel, that people will automatically write you off because of the way you look.
Why are you so occupied with my niece’s hair to the point that you would disrupt her learning?” she wrote. “I would like to know what gives you the authority to be the decision maker on stunting my nieces’ dreams by telling her that she cannot achieve careers based off her looks? Why are you projecting your SELF HATE onto my niece?
The principal, Tracey Barnes, is black and has had multiple conversations about the girl’s hair. The school issued a statement to CityNews:
For privacy reasons, we can’t speak to the details about this specific interaction, 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. Hairstyles are not covered by the TDSB or school’s dress code. It’s our understanding that this interaction was not about hairstyle.