Mother sues Catholic school after they threatened to expel her eight-year-old son over his cornrow hairdo
'You’d think a Catholic school is about Christ and love. What does a hairdo have to do with that?' said the mother
A Queens mother has brought a lawsuit against a Catholic school for racial discrimination after the principal reportedly told her eight-year-old he couldn't wear a cornrow hairdo to class.
According to a complaint filed Monday in Queens Supreme Court, Lavona Batts, the boy's mother, is now suing the Immaculate Conception Catholic Academy in Jamaica Estates over its policy prohibiting "braids of any kind."
On September 4, Jediah showed up for his first day of third grade with his hair in braids, per the complaint. His grandmother went to pick him up that day, when the principal told her "We don't accept this," rubbing the boy's head.
The complaint states the principal gave the family five days to change Jediah's hairstyle. However, they decided to enroll him in a separate school altogether.
"I was infuriated that now I have to do this because of something like his hair," Batts told New York Daily News. "This is discrimination."
Jediah "loves his hair," she continued. "He feels like it makes him look good, it's a part of him."
"You’d think a Catholic school is about Christ and love," the embattled mother added. "What does a hairdo have to do with that?"
Batts is now suing the school to recoup her $275 registration fee and the $250 which went towards school uniform expenses, along with compensatory and punitive damages.
That said, the family's $300,000 lawsuit comes just three months after the state of New York passed a law against discrimination based on natural hair or hairstyles "historically associated with race."
According to the New York Daily News, the school's student handbook mandates that boys must keep their hair "neat and trim, no longer than the top of the shirt collar." Furthermore, it prohibits Mohawks, ponytails, buns, braids, or any hair color.