School Allows American Indian Boy to Keep Hair Braided

November 25, 2008

Author: Christine Harvey

Source: Religion News Service

An American Indian boy who wears his hair in a braid as part of a religious custom will be allowed to remain at his school after school officials reversed an earlier decision that the child would have to cut his hair or wear his braid in a bun.

Schools Superintendent Gayle Sloan has agreed to let Curtis Harjo keep his braid, even though the practice goes against the school board's policy regarding hair length.

"All religions are equally deserving of respect and protection," said Katie Schwartzmann, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Louisiana chapter, which represented the boy's family.

"Curtis should be allowed to wear his hair in keeping with his religious and cultural identity, just as a Christian student should be allowed to wear a crucifix to school."