Boston-area charter schools are not the only schools that punish black girls for how they wear their hair. In 2015, Black Lives Matter Toronto brought a protest to Toronto District School Board HQ after a student was sent home from Amesbury Middle School because her hair was “too poofy and unprofessional.”
Protesters shared stories of how they and their peers had been targeted and affected by dress codes and hairstyle norms that exclude natural black hair.
One of them, Tania Turton, went to Amesbury Middle School — where the student was allegedly sent home for her crochet braids — and said she wasn’t surprised by the incident. It was, she said, “reflective of my experience there.”
Turton, a hairstylist, told the crowd that a client once tried to “fix” her hair herself after a co-worker commented on it before a big meeting.
“If professional means that being black is not professional, by your very existence, then that’s something we need to reconsider,” she told the Star after her speech.