Parents of Jacob Rush, a straight-A senior at Abeka Academy, said he was denied being able to walk at his high school graduation because of his locs, Black With No Chaser reports.


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Rush’s mother, Latrenda Rush, said Abeka Academy, located in Pensacola, Florida, sent a letter explaining that graduates must “have their hair tapered and may not come over the ears, eyebrows, or collar (no braids, dreadlocks, buns, or ponytails).”

The letter further asserted that Rush would not be permitted to walk at graduation if the senior does not comply with the guidelines.

“This is our culture…. this is who we are! This is the sad world we live in. JACOB @bluwjayarts is a straight A student, very talented young man. And for him to have to cut his locs for a standard graduation is horrible,” his mom shared on Instagram.

“Abeka Academy is not a diverse establishment. God created many nations. Racism shines very brightly at Abeka! My son has worked very diligently this year and to get the news that his senior picture shows that he has ‘Locs,’ disqualifies him from marching unless he cuts them. This is very inhumane! This is his culture, this how God made him. Braids, afros, Loc are the ways Africa Americans wear their hair,” she added.

She also said that societal hair standards have dated back to slavery.

“Hair has been the history of how Anglo Saxons ‘Coloized Slaves,’ by shaving, or cutting their Locs before taking them to the ‘Plantation.’ Or making the women tie up their hair to hide their Afro,” she said.

“There has always been rejection due to not only the color of our skin but our hair as well. I truly regret having to face something like this in 2022 but it shows that Racism is still alive! Everyone won’t fit the straight hair blue eye experiment,” she continued. “If the other race can’t see where this is a form of Racism then they are part of the problem!”


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A post shared by Latrenda Rush Ed.S (@iamlatrenda)

Abeka Academy said they follow the dress standard of Pensacola Christian College. However, the school later posted that they have removed the “no dreadlocks” guideline.

Abeka Academy shared a statement with Blavity saying the petition for Rush to participate at graduation was “approved” and they look forward to “celebrating the student’s achievements at the upcoming home school graduation.”

“The principal of Abeka Academy spoke personally with the mother on Monday morning, March 14, to apologize and inform her that Abeka had updated its requirements,” the statement read.

“As I shared, what we should have communicated in the first place was that hair be neatly groomed to be off the eyebrows, ears, and collar, allowing the graduation cap to fit naturally. As we discussed, that can be accomplished with locs or braids,” the school’s principal told Rush’s mom.