Charter school leader responds to allegations of discrimination related to grooming policy
LELAND, N.C. (WECT) - The founder of The Roger Bacon Academy, the organization that manages Classical Charter Schools, stands by the school’s grooming standards for its students.
The Classical Charter Schools’ 2022-2023 handbook says, for boys: “Hair must be neatly trimmed and off the collar, above the eyebrows, not below the top of the ears or eyebrows, and not an excessive height. Distracting, extreme, radical, or faddish haircuts, hairstyles, and colors are not allowed.”
Ashley Lomboy’s son Logan attends Classical Charter Schools of Leland. She was told Logan’s hair would need to be cut if she wanted him to continue attending the school. Lomboy says this would go against the family’s Native American heritage and religious beliefs.
The school relaxed enforcement of its grooming standards during the pandemic, and recently sent a letter to parents telling them that enforcement will resume at the start of the 2023-2024 school year.
“It goes along with enforcing any standard,” said Baker Mitchell, founder of The Roger Bacon Academy. “We’re trying to teach self-discipline, we’re trying to teach self-reliance, self-control, and our ultimate objective is to have graduates that are that are self learners.”
Lomboy says Logan had been wearing his hair in a bun to school and was later told that was considered a fad.
“They noticed a whole group of white kids coming up with man buns,” said Mitchell. “That’s definitely a fad. There’s no question about that. Two years ago, you wouldn’t see a white kid in a man bun anywhere. Then, all of a sudden, you’ve got all these kids running around with man buns. So you say ‘Okay, that’s a fad.’”
Mitchell says allowing boys to have long hair could get in the way of their education.
“I think allowing them to do wild things with their dress and their hair and their clothing detracts from the real point that we’re trying to achieve.”
He says unless the board of trustees changes the grooming policy, he will enforce the standards in the handbook.
“I think as long as the handbook stands, it’s all I can speak to,” said Mitchell. “Certainly there are numerous other schools they can attend that don’t have that rule.”
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