Home > UPDATE: Petition to lift the ban of braids, locks, and twists at Central Catholic High School

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A petition seeking to change the hair policy at Central Catholic High School has over 72,000 signatures and growing, the organizer, Central Catholic High School student, JD Younger recently posted an update about a recent meeting with the schools principal, who he feels is listening to the students concerns: 

 PETITION UPDATE

Our Principal is Listening/ by JD Younger

JAN 29, 2020 — Thank you for all of the support that has come to this petition!

 This petition is bringing a lot of recognition to a growing issue in America. 

Last week, we had a meeting with our principal to discuss the petition and the changes we would like to see in the handbook. While he told us there will not be an immediate change for this year, there is hope that a change might be considered for next year. 

 

The followig statement was released by the school as reported by WPXI-TV:

Brother Tony Baginski, principal of Central Catholic, issued the following statement surrounding this controversy and petition:

 
Over the last week, I personally have reached out and spoken to dozens of students, alumni and parents of varying ages and ethnicities about our hairstyles policy. As a result of those conversations, Central Catholic will be inviting some of our distinguished African American alumni to the school for a meeting in the coming weeks. Students will also be invited to meet with school leadership and alumni. The goal of these meetings is simple: To listen. We want to hear their opinions and voices to ensure we are respectful of the cultural concerns this issue has raised. Every summer, the school administration reviews our policies for the upcoming school year. Listening and gathering information during these meetings, as well as feedback from other students, staff, faculty, and alumni will help determine if any updates or changes in policy need to be made. That said, on Wednesday morning, we informed students that the Student/Parent Handbook will remain unchanged for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. We strive to instill in our students a sense of pride, a sense of self-discipline, and ultimately a sense of community. We believe that the standards our students adhere to help prepare them for a life of success.
 
Brother Tony Baginski
But for now, the school states that the student-parent handbook will go unchanged for the 2019-2020 school year.


Petition to lift the ban of braids, locks, and twists at Central Catholic High School

Julian Younger, a student at Central Catholic who started the petition says the school has an 'outdated' hair policy, he says it's racially biased toward African Americans and that is why he started the petition.

 The dress code at Central Catholic prohibits lines, braids, locks and twists – but some students say that rule is outdated in 2020 and they are collecting signatures to have the administration change their policy.  

Below is the content of the petition click link to review:   

 

Pittsburgh Central Catholic handbook’s ban on ethnic hairstyles has created an issue with African American male students. The school's handbook states that “Hair must be its natural color, clean, neatly combed”... “hairstyles with designs, patterns, lines, weaves, spikes, braids, locks, twists, or ponytails are not permitted”. 

While understanding the motion that Pittsburgh Central Catholic does not permit certain hairstyles because of the expectations of a clean and kept mentality, this kind of rhetoric perpetuates a racial bias and stigma which disproportionately affects African Americans. These policies show a lack of regard for ethnic and natural hair. While it is reasonable for the school to expect some degree of conventionality and neatness in hairstyles, these expectations ought to consider the diversity of natural hair textures people have. The problem is the perception of ethnic/natural hair that is not straightened is in some way unruly, unkempt, and must be carefully regulated to fit within white cultural norms. In the black community, hair has roots in our idea of blackness and self-esteem and depriving young adults of their cultural identity can have long term effects on one's psyche. It is important to note that this problem is not just one at our highschool. There are many examples of times where this rule has had traumatic effects on an African American student. 

Andrew Johnson
New Jersey high school wrestler Andrew Johnson had to cut his dreadlocks ringside before being allowed to compete. 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/07/03/california-first-state-ban-hair-discrimination-crown-act/1643833001/ 


C.J. Stanley
A 6-year-old boy in Florida was denied entry to his school because of his dreadlocks,

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2018/08/15/a-little-boy-with-dreadlocks-enrolled-at-a-fundamentalist-christian-school-it-didnt-go-well/ 

 Love Project Message:

“Pittsburgh Central Catholic handbook’s ban on ethnic hairstyles has created an issue with African American male students. The school's handbook states that “Hair must be its natural color, clean, neatly combed”... “hairstyles with designs, patterns, lines, weaves, spikes, braids, locks, twists, or ponytails are not permitted”.

While understanding the motion that Pittsburgh Central Catholic does not permit certain hairstyles because of the expectations of a clean and kept mentality, this kind of rhetoric perpetuates a racial bias and stigma which disproportionately affects African Americans. These policies show a lack of regard for ethnic and natural hair. While it is reasonable for the school to expect some degree of conventionality and neatness in hairstyles, these expectations ought to consider the diversity of natural hair textures people have. The problem is the perception of ethnic/natural hair that is not straightened is in some way unruly, unkempt, and must be carefully regulated to fit within white cultural norms. In the black community, hair has roots in our idea of blackness and self-esteem and depriving young adults of their cultural identity can have long term effects on one's psyche. It is important to note that this problem is not just one at our highschool. There are many examples of times where this rule has had traumatic effects on an African American student.”

https://www.change.org/p/petition-to-lift-the-ban-of-braids…

 

Read More from WPXI-TV 

 

PUM has reached out to Central Catholic for a statement and we will post the statement once we receive it. 

 
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