Texas School Reportedly Told Grandma to Cut 4-Year-Old Grandson's Long Hair or Put Him in a Dress
When Michael 'Tink' Trimble started at his new school in rural Texas in August, he had no idea that he would go through some level of discrimination. If anything, the 4-year-old, who is under the custody of his grandmother, was excited about the new start.
Randi Woodley was given three options for her 4-year-old grandson's hair: cut it, pin it or put him in a dress.— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) September 15, 2019
She was also told "when prompted my grandson must say he’s a girl,” if they refused to cut his locks.https://t.co/c39baxLxxt
Things changed when his grandmother, Randi Woodley, was called in by the principal of Tatum Primary School. But the invitation wasn't for an opportunity to talk about Tink's settling into his new environment. It was instead an invitation to address the issue of Tink's hair which the school called 'a distraction' as reported by PEOPLE.
Texas School Accused of Saying 4-Year-Old Boy with Long Hair Must Cut It or Identify as a Girl https://t.co/Mc4cj6XUnm— People (@people) September 13, 2019
According to the principal, the young boy's hair was too long. Not seeing a leeway with the principal, Randi chose to speak with the school's superintendent, Dr. J.P. Richardson. The conversation didn't help her either as she claims he gave her three options:
"He told me that I could either cut it, braid it and pin it up, or put my grandson in a dress and send him to school, and when prompted my grandson must say he's a girl."
While speaking to CNN, the aggrieved grandmother stated:
"I did not understand why my grandson's ponytail is any different than a little girl's ponytail. And why is his ponytail more of a distraction than him in a dress? So I politely told him that from that day forward, I would get my grandson's hair braided. I would pin it up, but I would fight that dress code with everything in me."
Randi added that the school's dress code which states "no ponytails, ducktails, rat-tails, male buns, or puffballs are allowed on male students" discriminates against Black boys. She has since rallied parents and guardians with wards in the school to join her in the 'fight.'
Parents and community members flooded the Monday night Tatum ISD board meeting carrying placards. Some of the notices had the sentences: "My hair is my crown" and "No one is free when others are oppressed" written on them.
Speaking directly to the board at the meeting, Tink's grandmother pledged to see the 'fight' through to the end. She also started an online campaign to sign a petition asking others to not allow a four-year-old to be ‘bullied into cutting his hair.’