A Native American student at the Arrowhead Elementary School, in St. George, Utah has been sent home for having a “distracting” traditional Native American hairstyle.
The 7-year-old was removed from his classroom earlier this week when school officials said that his Native American Mohawk violated school policies.
The second grade student is the child of Seneca and Paiute Native parents. The Mohawk style is very common with the Seneca Nation.
His father tried to explain that to the school on Thursday, but his wife says they were still told by the school that the hair style is against their dress code.
The parents contacted the Seneca National Tribe, in New York, and asked them to explain the cultural significance of the hairstyle to the Washington County school district administrators.
“It is common for Seneca boys to wear a Mohawk because after years of discrimination and oppression, they are proud to share who they are,” William Canella, a Seneca Nation Tribal Councilor wrote. “It’s disappointing that your school does not view diversity in a positive manner, and it is our hope that [the boy] does not suffer any discrimination by the school administration or faculty as a result of his hair cut.”
The boy’s father, Gary Sanden, said he understands the need for a dress code, but does not think people should have to jump through so many hoops to have their cultural practices “approved” by the State.
The parents were even challenged by the school district, which said they must prove the child is Native American.