Watch Black students whose school banned their hair extensions speak out.
Twin sisters, Deanna and Mya Cook, 15, were barred from prom, suspended from sports, and have to serve double detention as punishment for wearing hair extensions to school, Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden. Now they and their parents are fighting back.
The girls got their hair extensions while on vacation with their family. On the second day back to school they were asked to take them out because they were violating Mystic Valley Regional Charter School’s hair and dress code.
“I almost started crying. I immediately texted my mom and said, this is not fair. I’m heartbroken. I’m almost in tears right now,” said Mya Cook.
The girls’ parents feel the rule is discriminatory.
“I was really hurt by it, they were really hurt by it,” said Colleen Cook, the girls’ mother. “And I said, well, there’s nothing wrong with your hair. This is who you are. This is part of your culture. If you want to keep them in, we’ll support you.”
The school has since doubled down on their policy after the students refused to take out their braids. “I am banned from the track team, I can no longer attend Latin Club and I’m not allowed to go to any other school events,” said Deanna.
Deanna and Mya and their mother gave an interview about the situation:
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint with the state education department Monday against a Malden charter school that has disciplined black and biracial students who wear hairstyles that violate the school’s dress code. Separately, state officials expressed concern about the rule, pledging to meet with school administrators.
“I’m angry, I feel like my children are beautiful, they’re Black, they should be proud of themselves. I’m very proud of them,” said Colleen.