A 4-year-old in Texas is not able to attend school because of his long hair, his mother claims.
Jessica Oates said her son, Jabez Oates, didn’t go to class Tuesday after the Barbers Hill School District in Mont Belvieu, Texas, informed her that his long hair is not allowed.
“My son likes his hair. He doesn’t understand why he is not allowed in school over something so trivial,” Oates told InsideEdition.com.
Jabez, who is supposed to be in pre-k, hasn’t cut his hair since birth and his locks go past his shoulders.
Oates said the school initially told her that she would only need to provide a document stating that the reason for his long hair is religious or cultural, which she said she had no problem doing.
“When I went to enroll my child, I asked about the policy on hair. I was told my son would be allowed to keep his hair,” Oates said. “I was getting him all geared up for school. I took him to school and it was no big deal.”
She said her family is part Cocopah Indian and in that culture, hair is viewed as strength.
Oates said on Friday the school reminded her that documentation for her son was needed and asked her to have it by Monday. However, Oates said the school called her later that afternoon to tell her Jabez’s long hair would not be allowed at all due to a school board policy.
The school’s policy clearly states that boys must have a haircut above the eyes, ears and neck.
The Barbers Hill School District said in a statement that they plan to uphold their policy.
"Our policies, including expectations of appearance, are fashioned by our Board of Trustees, all of whom are taxpayers in the Barbers Hill school district and have had children attend our schools," the district said in a statement to InsideEdition.com. "Parents have a right to seek an appropriate educational setting for their child, just as Ms. Oates has the right to place her child in a district that reflects her personal expectations for standards of appearance."
Oates said the school policy is blatant discrimination.
“On Monday, I tried to take to my son to school, and I put his hair in a bun and I tied it with a little black hair tie. They said that the black hair tie was inappropriate and they would not allow him to go,” Oates said.
She added: “I believe the policy is sexist because they have no hair policy for girls. I am really angry. The fact that my son can’t go to school angers me. It’s outrageous and outdated.'