A Mississippi teen’s hairstyle is keeping him off of his homecoming court. A week before Vicksburg High School’s homecoming festivities several escorts found out that they would not be participating.
Patrick Richardson said school officials told him that his hair is keeping him from escorting one of the homecoming maids. The 16-year-old is sad that he won’t be in the next Vicksburg High School yearbook, pictured escorting his best friend Sa’shia Jones who was chosen junior class maid.
Patrick said after paying to have a tux fitting last Thursday, the principal called him to the auditorium and told him that he could not be a homecoming escort because he wears dread locked hair. The junior was told he would have to cut it to be an escort.
“When I decided to grow my hair that’s what I wanted to do. I thought it was acceptable, but from what the principal told me homecoming is of a higher standard and dreads are just not acceptable,” said Richardson. Patrick has been growing the dreads since last October and said the hairstyle is not prohibited nor addressed in any way in the school handbook.
The student’s mother, Tammi Mason, said she is upset because her son’s money was not refunded and that the school is not embracing his cultural expression. “It’s actually a form of discrimination to me because if that’s the case then everybody who’s fat shouldn’t be able to be in it on the court. They could say anything. Actually they could say you have to be a size 10 to be one of the maids,” said Mason.
Patrick’s dreads are about eight inches long and were going to be braided and pulled back for this Friday’s homecoming ceremonies.
Another Vicksburg high parent Lynda Jackson said that her son freshman De-Marcus Jackson also wears dreads and was humiliated to find out that his hair would prevent him from escorting the sophomore maid. Vicksburg Schools Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Swinford said there’s no written policy, but there is a practice that bans dreadlocks on the homecoming court.
She said students have been made aware of this, and school officials are in the process of looking at creating a written policy. Mason and Lynda Jackson said they are looking into taking legal action, although it may be too late to help their sons’ participation in this year’s homecoming.
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