A 6-year-old boy in Florida was forced to miss his first day of school after the administrators at his private school said he couldn’t attend class until he cut his dreadlocks.
Clinton Stanley Jr. was so excited to start the first grade that he didn’t mind going to A Book's Christian Academy in Apopka early for orientation on Monday. But the little boy was stopped before he even entered the classroom, his father said.
“We were in disbelief,” Clinton Stanley Sr. told InsideEdition.com. “He was turned away from an education because of his hair.”
Stanley Sr. said he was told his son’s hair, which was in dreadlocks that fell to about his shirt collar, violated school policy. He said he immediately grabbed his cellphone to record the exchange with school officials.
“Other people need to see this,” he said of his decision to record. “I also did it to cover my[self], in case they said I was being rude or obnoxious. I kept calm.”
In the video, Stanley’s son, who was dressed in the school uniform and wore a backpack, can be seen standing outside the door as his father discusses his options with an administrator inside.
“Daddy, can I just pull it up in a ponytail?” the six-year-old boy can be heard asking.
Stanley Sr. also asked if he could braid it up, but was told his son’s hair needed to be “above the ears.”
“He ready to go to school, but he can’t,” Stanley Sr. can be heard saying in the video.
The school official told Stanley Sr. that the policy on hair is in the school handbook, but Stanley Sr. said it should specifically state that dreadlocks are not allowed.
Sue Book, the school’s administrator, told The Ledger its policy requires that boys have short hair.
“No dreads,” she said. “All of our boys have short hair. ... It’s the style of hair. We don’t allow it. We never have.”
In what appeared to be a commercial for the school that was uploaded to YouTube in 2014, a boy can be seen with hair that falls to about his shirt collar. It is not in dreadlocks.
It was not immediately clear if dreadlocks are specifically discussed in the student handbook.
A link on the school’s website to its handbook did not appear to work on Thursday. A Book’s Christian Academy did not respond to InsideEdition.com’s request for comment.
“It’s not right,” Stanley Sr. said.
Stanley Sr. has since enrolled his son in a local public school. He has kept his dreadlocks, as it was the hairstyle he wanted, Stanley Sr. said.
“He said, ‘Now I get to wear whatever shoes I want, whatever clothes I want,’” Stanley Sr. said. “He’s calmer than I am. I get my calmness from him.”
Stanley Sr. said he plans to meet within his community to discuss discrimination policies that affect minorities in school.
"A kid should have any hairstyle he chooses,” he said. “You're discriminating against a certain people, a certain race. What are you insinuating about people with dreadlocks? Projecting them as being thugs? Newsflash: Thugs come with all hairstyles."