Hair at the center of high school cheerleader’s dismissal from high school in Louisiana

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SHREVEPORT, La (KTAL/KMSS) – A student at Captain Shreve High School is dismissed from the cheerleading squad in the final months of her senior year. Her mother alleges her daughter’s hair got her kicked off the team.

On January 21 Rosalind Calloway was notified by her daughter that she would no longer be able to participate on the Captain Shreve High School cheerleading team.

“In fact she had received 15 infractions due to her hair not being half up/half down.”

According to school policy, once you receive 20 demerits you’re dismissed from the cheer leading squad. Over the course of a year Calloway’s daughter received 15 demerits because of her hair for three separate incidents. The demerit report given to KTAL/KMSS by Calloway, listed on October 31st an infraction for “hair not 1/2 up in uniform.” Two additional incidents are written in December and January for “wrong hairstyle at game.”

Calloway says, “Surely there has to be more to it. I can’t see them giving you that many demerits and it being that excessive due to your hair style.”

The senior’s mother tells KTAL/KMSS they were never told a set hair style for the cheerleaders, but on some occasions they’re asked to wear it half up and half down. Something she explains is difficult for her daughter due to her hair texture, so she wears it up.

“It has to be shampooed… conditioned… dried… straightened and everyone still has to go through a process, but hers is just more intense and definitely more of a lengthy process.”

Caddo Parish Schools sent KTAL/KMSS the General Rules and Regulations of the Captain Shreve High School Spirit Groups. The five page document does not outline any rules related to hair. It must be signed by parents and student before participating in spirit groups.

“We receive a dismissal notice that outlines the offenses and the infractions that she received demerits for and none of that ever list or specifies hair. I feel like that is illogical.”

Calloway believes the rule that is being cited against her daughter is for “inappropriate, dirty incomplete, or not wearing the designated performance uniform,” which violating accounts for 5 demerits per infraction.

Caddo Parish Schools released the following statement:

While the district cannot speak to any single student or their situation, our district in the strongest terms does not tolerate discrimination as staff works each day to provide students numerous opportunities both inside and outside the classroom.

Among those opportunities, students may participate in are spirit groups and extracurricular activities such as cheer. All such groups are governed by a constitution which is reviewed annually by a diverse team with feedback from students.

Prior to trying out, students are given the opportunity to review the constitution and must sign to affirm they have read the constitution and will abide by its contents. These guidelines include behavior, dress, attendance, participation and a variety of other factors which all participating students are expected to uphold. In no such instance, is a single incident or factor cause for dismissal.

Instead, students are provided every opportunity to learn from their experiences and to be a part of the team unless they show a consistent pattern of failing to comply with the approved guidelines.

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