Mother fights Ohio school's hairstyle policy

Mother fights Ohio school's hairstyle policy
Mother fights Ohio school's hairstyle policy
Posted at 3:13 AM, Sep 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-05 23:18:16-04

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) A Central Catholic parent is in a standoff with the school over a hairstyle policy.

Maylin Wattley says her 14-year-old son Malachi should not have to cut his dreadlocks because they are a sign of strength within his culture.

"Dreadlocks is beautiful. It's about his culture," Wattley said. "It's about his religion, his heritage, tradition, pride, diversity, freedom."

Wattley says Malachi has been growing his dreadlocks since he was a baby. 

"Dreadlocks is Malachi. Malachi is dreadlocks," Wattley said. "It's part of who he is."

Wattley says Malachi was given a citation about his dreadlocks earlier this week so she met with school officials about the issue. She says they could not reach an agreement. 

The Catholic Diocese says Wattley knew about the school's hair policy, which is in the student handbook. She says she did sign it, because an education at Central Catholic was important to her and her son. She hasn't yet signed it for her daughter.

The Senior Director of Catholic Education says a note was sent to Wattley's home Friday, stating Malachi will have to cut his hair to his collar in order to return to school.

Wattley says Malachi will not cut his hair. She says she would like the school to work out a compromise. 

"If we don't want to cut his hair because of cultural or religious purposes, why can't he wear it up? Why can't I braid it?" Wattley said. "There are so many things you can do with dreadlocks."

The Toledo Catholic Diocese said Wattley arrived to Central Catholic High School with unshorn dreadlocks on Tuesday. The school sent Wattley home until his hair meets the guideline in the student handbook.

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