Parents call on charter school board to reconsider grooming policy for students

Parents who have been told their children are in violation of the policy are wondering what to do next.
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 6:05 PM EDT
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LELAND, N.C. (WECT) - A group of parents and neighbors rallied outside Classical Charter Schools of Leland Thursday, calling on the board of trustees to reconsider the school’s grooming policy for students.

Ashley Lomboy says school administrators told her that her son Logan’s hair is too long and needs to be cut if he wants to attend after this school year.

Even though Logan wears his hair in a bun to attend school, Lomboy was told buns are considered a fad and, therefore, violate the school’s grooming standards for students. Lomboy, however, says Logan’s long hair is part of their Native American Culture.

“Our culture and our tradition is such a vibrant part of our people,” said Lomboy, a member of the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe. “We’re going through a really strong cultural revitalization and we’re encouraging- and I raised my son to enjoy- his long hair and understand what its purpose is and why it is important for him to do that.”

Tammie Jump is a member of the Lumbee Tribe. She says her grandson faces a similar problem at Classical Charter Schools of Whiteville.

“All of a sudden, a month ago, we are told that he has to cut his hair,” Jump said. “He had been wearing it in a man bun so that we fit into their criteria, so it wasn’t on his neck or anything like that. And we just didn’t understand why, after two years, you’re going to give us a two week notice he’s got to cut his hair.”

The American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to the school last month, saying the policy is discriminatory.

“I’m a veteran. I fought for this country for our right to have religious freedom, and the school has denied us from having that here,” said Lomboy.

Lomboy wants the school board to reconsider its policy soon so she can make a decision about Logan’s future.

“It is a center of pride that we have done in our Native American culture forever and we’re going to stick by our culture,” said Jump. “We don’t think that we need to be sent back to boarding school days, where they took our language and took our identity.”

Board members did not discuss the grooming policy at their meeting Thursday despite the larger-than-normal crowd.

Baker Mitchell, founder of The Roger Bacon Academy, which manages Classical Charter Schools, declined an interview requested by WECT. Board members also declined to comment on any potential changes to the policy.