Jaylon Sewell, a 16-year-old student at Neville High School in Monroe, Louisiana, is being harassed by school administrators about his blonde haircut, which is styled after NY Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
This has been happening for months: according to the New York Daily News, the family filed a formal complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights back in November.
Making matters worse is that Jaylon isn’t the only one getting harassed; according to Sewell’s family, 20 other black students at the school have been targeted for everything from dreads to braids to hair color. At one point, a dozen students were kicked out of class at the same time for their appearance.
So what’s the explanation? The school district has a strict dress code that prohibits students from wearing “hairstyles and hair dyed outlandish colors, which cause a disruption to the educational process…”
Jaylon’s mom, Bonnie Kirk, talked to Monroe City Schools Superintendent Dr. Brent Vidrine and they had this interesting back and forth:
“He asked me why would I let Jaylon dye his hair blonde. He told us that he won’t be able to get a good job in corporate America with his hair that color. I told him I’m not concerned with him in corporate America yet. I’m concerned with where he is now. He’s in high school and I would rather him experiment now instead of when he does make it to corporate America.”
Even with the tense situation, Jaylon has not stopped attending class.
Keep at it, Jaylon: we all have the right to be blonde.