A mother from New York takes action after saying that a Catholic school has discriminated against her 8-year-old son by announcing that he could not wear his hair in cornrows.
Jediah Batts was destroyed when he heard in September that those braids that he has been breeding for years would not be tolerated at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Academy.
His mother, Lavona Batts, is furious.
She said New York Daily News: & # 39; I was furious that I have to do this now because of something like his hair. This is discrimination. & # 39;
Batts formally filed a lawsuit against the Queens Supreme Court school on Monday.
A mother from New York sues a Catholic school after she says she has discriminated against the cornrows of 8-year-old sons
Immaculate Conception Catholic Academy was supposed to be a clean slate for third-class student Jediah, who previously spent three years in a poorly performing public school.
Batts spent $ 275 for the school enrollment fee and $ 250 for the mandatory mandate of the school, compete with a button-down shirt and tie.
Jediah started in the pre-K up to and including the eighth grade on September 4 and immediately felt in love.
His mother says that his teacher made him feel welcome and that his fellow students accepted him.
But those happy ones would shift quickly towards the end of the day.
When Jediah's grandmother arrived at the school to pick him up, the director reportedly told her: & # 39; we don't accept this, while he rubs the boy's head.
The lawsuit against Immaculate Conception Catholic Academy was filed with the Queens Supreme Court on Monday 28 October (photo)
Joan Batts, the grandmother of Jediah, was stunned by the director's statement.
She told DailyMail.com: “It was shocking. It really overwhelmed me. & # 39;
& # 39; This is such an emotional situation. & # 39;
According to the New York Daily News, the school handbook says that boys should keep her that is: & # 39; neat and trimmed, no longer than the top of the shirt collar. No designs, Mohawks, ponytail, braids, buns, no hair color. & # 39;
Jediah told his mother that he did not agree.
Batts said: & He loves his hair. He feels like he looks good, it's part of him. He is a very smart boy. & # 39;
Pictured: Immaculate Conception Catholic Academy in Queens, New York, where Jediah was allegedly discriminated against
& # 39; He knows what he wants and doesn't let anyone change his mind. & # 39;
And Batts was outraged that the director thought it was good to say such remarks to Jediah.
& # 39; You now give him the feeling that he is unacceptable, & # 39; said Batts.
Batts, who was in an impasse, held out his hand to the director in the hope that they could reach an agreement.
She didn't want to remove Jediah from a school he loved, but didn't want to sacrifice his hair to stay.
Unfortunately, the Immaculate Conception refused to bow to the Catholic Academy and stated that they had five days to change Jediah's hair.
Cornrows (photo) and other natural hairstyles have been protected against discrimination in New York since July of this year
Reportedly, a school employee told Batts that other Catholic schools would have the same protocol.
Batts took the risk, pulled her son from the Immaculate Conception and enrolled Jediah in another Catholic school.
Eventually she found a public school that fit better.
At the time, Batts was not involved in a lawsuit.
She said: & # 39; I was more worried about finding him a new school. I felt that this was not good, but my head was when the biggest problem is that my son has to go to school to get an education. & # 39;
Meanwhile, Joan Batts investigated the law.
New York became the second state behind California to pass a law that forbade discrimination based on natural hair.
The NYC Commission on Human Rights has released a legal enforcement directive on racial discrimination based on it.
Pictured: Part of the guidelines of the NYC Commission on Human Rights that prohibit discrimination against natural hair
It says: & # 39; Forbidden or limitations on natural hair or hairstyles associated with black people are often rooted in white appearance standards and perpetuate racist stereotypes that black hairstyles are unprofessional. & # 39;
& # 39; Schools must not violate the free expression rights of students & # 39; unless the school authorities have reason to believe that such an expression & # 39; will substantially disrupt the school's work or violate the rights of other students. & # 39;
& # 39; Because natural hair and locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades and Afros are a form of hair maintenance and cultural identity and expression most closely associated with black people, a school that falls under the NYCHRL such styles in New York prohibit York City. & # 39;
Oliver Koppell, Batts' lawyer, says the law allows exceptions for religious doctrine.
& # 39; But I have never heard that she was part of the Catholic religion, & # 39; he said.
Koppell, whose firm deals with all kinds of discrimination, says this is the first case that will pursue his practice of dealing with race-based hair discrimination.
He told DailyMail.com that, although it is not confirmed, this case may be the first of its kind in New York after the new law is passed.
Batts complains that the registration and uniform costs will be reimbursed, as well as emotional damage.
She said: & # 39; You would think that a Catholic school is about Christ and love. What does a hairstyle have to do with that? & # 39;
Other institutions tackle and apply care protocols to stop discrimination against natural hairstyles.
Among other institutions, the US military has reworked their care regulations to better incorporate natural hairstyles after previously banning many of them
In 2014, the US military gave in to harsh public criticism and allowed women to wear twofold twists and increase the size of acceptable braids.
Three years later the army lifted the ban on locs.
New policy state locs must: & # 39; be of a uniform dimension; have a diameter of no more than half an inch; and have a neat, professional and well-kept appearance. & # 39;
Many states, including New Jersey, Michigan and Tennessee, have proposed legislation in a number of areas to ban race-based hair discrimination.
This includes the workplace.
California has adopted the CROWN law, or & # 39; Create a respectful and open workplace for natural hair & # 39 ;.
The law, which prohibits discrimination based on texture, was unanimously passed by both chambers in the California legislature.
It was signed by law on July 3.
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