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All Revved Up: Why Mystic Valley's Hair Extension Policy Is Wrong

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Mystic Valley Regional Charter School
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Mystic Valley Regional Charter School banned black twin sophomores, Deanna and Maya Cook, from playing after school sports and from prom because they wore hair extensions to school, violating school policy.

The school’s policy and disciplinary decisions garnered national attention as the prohibition of hair extensions was seen as having a disproportionately negative impact on black students.

Attorney General Maura Healey sent a letter to the school last week saying that the school’s policy “includes a number of prohibitions that are either unreasonably subjective or appear to effectively single out students of color.”

Shortly after receiving the letter, Mystic Valley Regional Charter School rescinded the Cook’s punishment and tentatively removed the no hair extension policy until the end of the school year.

Reverends Irene Monroe and Emmett Price joined Boston Public Radio to talk about the controversy, as well as the cultural importance of black hair.

“This is embarrassing for the school,” said Price. “You robbed them of the track team and the Latin club ... because of hair extensions?”

Price said that that the school policy exhibited racial hypocrisy, noting that the school did not have an equal penalty for students who have dyed or highlighted hair.

“I have to give kudos to our Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey for stepping in and talking about the disparity and how these young women are being treated,” said Monroe.

For Monroe, this is just another of the many examples of white microaggressions against black people for the way they look and dress.

“It is another form of policing of our black kids,” she said.

Reverends Irene Monroe and Emmett Price join Boston Public Radio every week for All Revved Up. To hear their interview in its entirety, click on the audio player above.

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