School asks teen to change her natural hair style
MONTVERDE, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - School administrators asked a teen girl to change her natural hair because it was against the dress code policy, according to her parents.
“People say they love my hair because it’s so diverse, curly and Afro-centric,” said 16-year-old Nicole Orr, a junior at Montverde Academy in Lake County.
She says she’s known for her hair, but she never thought she would be singled out because of it.
“I received a call saying that my daughter needed to get her hair done and she wears her natural and I was kind of taken aback by it,” said her dad, Eric Orr.
He says a school administrator called and said her style wasn’t in line with dress code policy.
“She literally felt, ‘Wow, what's wrong with my hair? The Caucasian girls are able to wear their natural hair straight. Why can't I wear my natural hair the way that it grows?’” said her mom, Secily Wilson.
They were referred to the handbook, where one line in particular stood out.
“It said 'dread-like' hair and so that could be ambiguous and it could give you latitude to target a certain person or a certain group so we felt we needed to address the issue,” Eric Orr explained.
So Nicole’s parents met with the school’s headmaster Monday. FOX 35 sat down with him too and asked why her hair was considered a problem in the first place. .
“My understanding in talking with the dean of students, I think it was more in line with that neat and organized look that we're going for. Not so much the issue of dread locks per se,” said Dr. Kasey Kesselring, Montverde’s headmaster.
But Kesselring says after looking at the hair policy, he agreed the line involving dread lock needed to go so no one is singled out.
“To know that we were able to help our daughter and all the other daughters or boys out there... we feel pretty good about it,” Wilson said.
Montverde is diverse private school near Clermont.