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A 7th Grade Louisiana Student Asked By Principal If His Braids Represented Being A Gangster



A 7th Grade Student At Louisiana School Asked By The Principal If His Braids Represented Being A Gangster

A 7th Grade Student At Louisiana School Asked By The Principal If His Braids Represented Being A Gangster

The parents of a 7th grade student at Calvary Baptist private school in Slidell said they were dumbfounded last week when their son’s decision to wear a braided hairstyle was met with questions about being a gan*ster by the school’s principal.

“I picked him up, just like normal and asked how was your day? How did your friends like your braids?” Ashely Thorn said of her son, Dalon. “We’re driving out of the parking lot and he said the principal pulled him aside today and asked if his braids represented being a ga*gster.”

The Thorns, a Black family of five who recently moved from Shreveport to the Slidell area, found the principal’s questions troubling. Braided hair, they said, is widely normalized and not an infraction against school policy. “You don’t think you have to prep your child or even think of something like that for something that’s so small,” Thorn said.

The Thorns said they called principal Angelyn Mesman that afternoon and left a message with her staff, which went unreturned. The next morning, the parents met with Mesman in her office.

Mesman and John Brown, interim pastor at Calvary Baptist Church, declined to comment Thursday through the church secretary, after multiple attempts to reach them by phone and in person. In an audio recording of the meeting taken by the Thorns, Mesman said she pulled Dalon aside to avoid embarrassing him and said she wanted to know what his braids represented.

“I’ve never had a student wear their braids like that. I’ve had teachers personally come to me and ask about his hair and what I thought about it,” Mesman says on the recording.

She continued: “I have seen children grow up in this school and I’ve seen them change, so I was just checking to see where we are. I just wanted to see his heart. Our culture is changing. Little boys used to have regular little haircuts.”

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