It seems like not a day goes by without another story of America’s rampant racism problem cropping up in the news. It’s depressing, infuriating, and downright unacceptable. The latest story out of Texas of school staff using a Sharpie marker on a black student’s head in order to comply with the school’s dress code is yet another example of a serious problem our country has with race.
A student at Miller Junior High School Principal, 13-year-old J.T. was apparently mocked by Principal Tony Barcelona, discipline clerk Helen Day, and teacher Jeanette Peterson as they took turn coloring his head with a Sharpie.
They claimed the teen’s haircut was a violation of school dress code because it was a “fade haircut with a design line.”
J.T.’s parents, Dante Trice and Angela Washington, have since filed a lawsuit against Pearland Independent School District over the incident, as they believe their son was subject to racial discrimination, especially since all three school officials involved were white.
According to the lawsuit, “The haircut did not depict anything violent, gang-related, obscene or otherwise offensive or inappropriate in any manner. J.T. did not believe the haircut violated any school policy.”
The lawsuit claimed that J.T. was sent to the discipline office upon arriving to school that morning for being “out of dress code.” There, he was given the choice to go to in-school suspension, which ran a risk of getting him kicked off the track team, or having his head colored in with Sharpie.
“Under great duress,” J.T. chose the Sharpie and was allegedly mocked and laughed at while it was done.
J.T.’s parents insist that they were never informed about the incident by school officials and claim that it took several days for the Sharpie to wash off, during which time he was teased by his fellow students and referred to as a “thug.”
The school has yet to respond to the lawsuit, but one thing remains clear: schools are for learning, not for singling out students—and unfortunately, this tends to be students of color more often than not—for pointless “offenses” that take nothing away from the learning process. Here’s hoping this gets resolved properly ASAP.