A private school has come under fire for banning a Black boy whose hair is styled in ethnic dreadlocks. According to the 6-year-old boy's father, he was told he could not start first grade on Monday at a private Christian school without getting a haircut.
“I respect their rules, but it’s not right,” said Clinton Stanley Sr., whose son, Clinton Stanley Jr., was turned away from the A Book’s Christian Academy near Apopka.
“Allow kids to come as they are. You are a Christian school. In the Bible it says, come as you are,” he told the NY Daily News. “You deny a kid an education on his hair?”
Stanley uploaded a Facebook video of his son wearing his school uniform -- navy pants, a button-down shirt and tie -- being turned away from the school. The video has been viewed over 80,000 times and garnered thousands of comments.
Sue Book, the school’s administrator, defended the school policy which has been in effect since 1971. “No dreads,” she said. “All of our boys have short hair. It’s the style of hair. We don’t allow it. We never have.”
She said the school has received threats and ugly phone calls.
“I’ve had all kinds of obscene, ugly calls,” Book said. “It’s just hard.”
Stanley said he would not have enrolled his son if he was aware of the policy.
Someone later posted the school's policy on Facebook.com that details the school’s requirement for short hair and no dreadlocks.
But Stanley said the policy contradicts the Bible's teaching to come as you are.
“All kids are created in the image of God, yet all are not welcome," he said.
Stanley said he used a Florida school voucher to pay the private school tuition.
Unlike free public school's, private schools are not bound by government rules. Some private schools have strict rules that do not permit openly gay or transgender students.
Stanley, Jr. was disappointed at the school's action.
“Daddy, can I just pull it up in a ponytail?” the boy asked. But the school insisted he had to cut his hair.
Stanley and his wife decided to enroll C.J. in their local public school, Lovell Elementary School, where he started classes on Wednesday.
Stock photo by Richard Lewisohn/Getty Images