School that banned Houston-area boy for long hair not budging on rules

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Published 11:54 am, Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Barber’s Hill Independent School District (BHISD) will not alter its dress code policy for a Houston-area boy shut out because of his long hair.

Superintendent Greg Poole told that the district “should justifiably be criticized if our district lessened its expectations or longstanding policies simply to appease” Jessica Oates who will not cut her 4-year-old son Jabez’s hair.

“Parents have a right to seek an appropriate educational setting for their child, just as Ms. Oates has the right to place her child in a district that reflects her personal expectations for standards of appearance. There are procedures in place for addressing concerns over policy if it is Ms. Oates’ desire to have her son educated in Barbers Hill ISD,” Poole added in a statement.

BARBER’S HILL LIVES UP TO ITS NAME: Houston-area boy banned from school because of long hair

Jabez’s hair resulted in his removal from Barber’s Hill kindergarten center Friday afternoon because it was too long. The student handbook, which Oates signed, states that boy’s hair “will not extend below the eyebrows, below the ear lobes, or below the top of a t-shirt collar. Corn rows and/or dread locks are permitted if they meet the aforementioned lengths.”

Oates, 25, believes the district is discriminating against her son, who has stayed home all week.

“My child, being that he was accepted into the government funded program, has every right to the schooling here in BHISD without discriminatory policies. Policies that blatantly disregard culture, religion and sex,” Oates told Wednesday morning. “The policies in place for rectifying the situation have been addressed on my end. I will do everything I can to afford my child the right to an education here without being discriminated against.”

Dress code policies policing boys with long hair is nothing new. In Sept. 1970, Elton Martin was a student at South Laurel Senior High School in Pennsylvania when the administration passed a new dress code prohibiting boys from sporting long hair.

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“Everyone else [cut their hair] but I resisted and contacted the ACLU,” Martin told “I was suspended and eventually reinstated with an injunction from the federal judge until we had a hearing in the U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh.”

In Jan. 1971, a Pennsylvania judge ruled in Martin’s favor, citing the 14th Amendment, specifically that the government, a public school in this case, could not take away his property (hair) without due process and compensation, Martin said.

Oates plans on visiting Barber’s Hill administrators Wednesday to discuss her options.

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