Race & Identity
School Seeks To Ban Durags: They Reflect 'Gang Culture,' 'Recede' Hairlines And 'That's Not Setting You Up For Success'
“To reiterate our rationale, they are a direct component of school to prison pipeline,” the school's dean of students and culture, wrote in an email to students.
A Massachusetts charter school has conjured up an inane justification for not letting boys wear durags to school.
The KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate High School has been issuing in-school suspensions to students who refused to take off their durags.
According to The Item Live, the charter school wants to look out for the goodwill of its students. So, they recommend students stop using durags because the school claims the hair scarfs used to lay down hair and make some dope waves would lead to gang life and prison. While inside of the school, the durags have to be off, and the strings can't visibly hang from pockets.
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“To reiterate our rationale, they are a direct component of school to prison pipeline,” Shauna-Kaye Clarke, dean of students and culture, wrote in an email to students. “And unfortunately, they are also reflective of some gang culture. And they can recede your hairline. That’s not setting you up for success.”
This decision was made several months ago. The Lowell Sun reports the school began suspending and removing students from class in March when the first emails were sent. Students have fought the school administration tooth and nail to defend their durags.
"I just feel like it’s a part of our culture that they’re trying to take away,” said 18-year-old Jaeqhan McClain, a senior at KIPP. “They’re saying we’re affiliated with gangs.”
Many students have pleaded their cases to the school officials. McClain said he had worn them his entire time at the charter school, and there hadn't been a problem until this year.
“Just because there [may be] a correlation doesn’t mean it’s true,” Gisnael Silva, 17, a KIPP Academy junior, said. “Because we look a certain way, we shouldn’t be treated a certain way or depicted a certain way.”
Caleb Dolan, the school's executive director, claims the policy aims to create unity among students. Faculty members said they would listen to students' concerns and seek different ways to compromise.
“We are excited to see students have the opportunity to advocate effectively for change,” Dolan said. “We have lots of kids who wear culturally relevant or religious headgear, and we want to make sure that’s something they feel comfortable to do in our school.”
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