This story coming out of Austin, TX,  is insane on a couple of levels. Young Derek Jackson was suspended for an alleged violation of Bailey Middle School’s dress code because he had a close-shaved haircut. The code prohibits hairstyles that are “disruptive.” Take a look at the picture and tell me how this is going to keep his schoolmates from learning. (KLBJ):

7th grader Derek Jackson says he is back in his normal classes today following his placement in in-school-suspension for having a haircut that was too short; something the school says was both a violation of the school dress-code and a distraction.

Derek’s mother, Amanda, says she met with Bailey Middle School Principal Dr. Julia Fletcher, and Dr. Fletcher told her that the issue was “not worth the fight”.

Leaders of Austin’s NAACP are convinced the suspension of Derek Jackson is racially motivated. Nelson Linder with the NAACP says there’s no other reason he can think of why a 7th grader would get in-school suspension for having hair that’s too short.

“We think that Derek is just a metaphor for how people are treated,” he said. “For whatever reason, African-Americans are put under very high scrutiny…gang issues, all kind of what I call ‘racist projections’. So I think when a black kid has a haircut that they might think is inappropriate, you’re seeing phobias from people.

I can’t make the leap that this is about race on the basis of this article. It is about misguided priorities and ignorance, because I can’t see how a clean haircut like this is indicative of anything except Jackson like to keep her son’s hair short. Unless the kid has a gang insignia cut into his hairstyle, what on earth are these administrators talking about?

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding