On June 14th, 2013, a letter was sent out to the parents and staff of Horizon Science Academy (HSA) of Lorain, Ohio with new dress code policies. One of the new policies states that “afro-puffs and small twisted braids, with or without rubberbands, are NOT permitted.”As reported by BlackGirlLongHair.com, HSA, which has many locations in Ohio, states in the letter that the purpose of their dress code curriculum is to “help students resist peer pressure to buy trendy clothes”, “diminish economic and social barriers between students”, and “increase a sense of belonging and school pride.” However, they have not given an answer as to why styles such as “afro puffs” or “small twisted braids” violate those aspirations. “We realize that these policies may not be perfect, however we feel that the adjustments that our students and parents make is definitely worth the outcome of creating a successful school environment,” the letter reads.

While the letter does not specify whether or not these new regulations will apply to both girls and boys, it is a policy that will be affecting a significant amount of students, specifically African American students who more often wear these hairstyles. According to last year’s annual report, about 26% of students at the kindergarden through 7th grade school are African-American.

This is not the first time the politics of hair have been introduced in the classroom. In 2009, a Milwaukee teacher cut off one of her first-grader’s braids as punishment for fidgeting with them during class time. The teacher was charged with disorderly conduct and subsequently fined $175.

In this case, it seems as though students who do not comply with the updated dress code will be punished. According to the school’s 2012-2013 student handbook–which ironically also mandates that “hair must look natural”–students who receive “dress code violation slip” will need to have it signed by a parent and returned to school the next day. An accumulation of three of these violations will result in after-school detention.

Jayson Bendik, Dean of Students of HSA, issued a statement to the AmNews citing the incident as an “unfortunate mistake” and assured that they are taking the matter seriously.

“This information has offended many people and by no means did we have any intention of creating bias towards any of our students. We truly apologize for this mistake and want to thank everyone for their feedback about the information in our handbook,” the statement read.

Administration stated that they are “currently taking the necessary steps to correct the information and to prevent this from ever happening again.”