LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Chartreuse-and-magenta hair in high school? Fine. Fake nails in middle school? No.
Personal appearance, socks, and whether a section of the school dress code about non-naturally colored braids and hair extensions could let teachers or administrators target minority students, took a great deal of the Lafayette Parish School Board meeting, news outlets reported.
Vice President Justin Centanni revised the section about braids and extensions to state explicitly that they were fine in any color naturally found on human heads but not in other hues, such as blue or green.
The board approved that change Wednesday but returned to the question later that evening and voted 6-2 to let high-school students use any color they wanted on their hair, braids and extensions. Younger students are still restricted to colors naturally found on human heads.
Alicia Roberts, whose daughter attends Ovey Comeaux High, said brightly tinted hair is broadly accepted and won’t distract students -- and if it does, teachers should be able to bring attention back to the topic at hand, The Advocate reported.
“Braids, extensions, earrings bigger than a quarter, commenting on the fingernails, mismatched socks — those things are ridiculous, petty things that we’re worrying about and we’re not focusing on what’s important in the classroom,” she said.
Board member Donald Aguillard said middle school teachers have told him their students spend too much time hunting for fallen fake fingernails, the Daily Advertiser reported. The board barred “artificial or acrylic nails, painted faces or other distracting makeup” for elementary and middle school students.
The board also changed a rule requiring solid-colored socks.
“I disagree with uniforms. I want kids to be themselves,” board member Tehmi Chassion said when he proposed a change.
After much discussion the board left socks up to schools, requiring “school appropriate socks and tights.”
Other changes, The Advocate reported, include a requirement for a matching pair of shoes with closed toes and backs, and a ban on pierced tongues.