A small Christian school in Florida became the target of a media firestorm after it turned away a kid who had dreadlocks on Monday.
Orange County’s A Book’s Christian Academy prohibited 6-year-old student C.J. Stanley from attending the school with hair below his ears, reported The Washington Post.
“I still have the same rules I always had,” school administrator Sue Book told WaPo.”The girls wear skirts, the boys wear trousers, hair above their ears and off their collars.”
Book’s husband, Rev. John Butler Book, founded the school in 1971. The Orlando Sentinel said he was “trying to save Central Florida from the same fate as Sodom, both inside his school and out.”
“When he wants something, he’s got to meet his requirements,” Stanley’s father, Clinton Stanley Sr., said about his son. “His requirements were he had to learn how to spell. I said, ‘You learn these words, you get your hair twisted.'”
The younger Stanley had worn his dreadlocks during kindergarten, but his parents switched him to Book’s Christian, which has 48 students and six faculty members, upon enrollment in a Florida tuition aid program.
“All boys hair must be a tapered cut, off the collar and ears,” states the school’s handbook, which Book claims Stanley’s family, who is Christian, received. “There are to be no dreads, Mohawks, designs, unnatural color, or unnatural designs.”
But the student’s father asserts he had not seen the handbook until Monday, “or else I’d have never put my son through this embarrassment.” (RELATED: ‘Shirtless White Dude With Dreadlocks’ Apparently Way Too Much For Editorial Board Member)
The elder Stanley recorded his conversation with a school official.
“And they’re supposed to be Christian!” the father said. “In their book it says God has hair ‘like wool.’ They’re supposed to be Christian! Get the fuck out of here.”
The Stanleys subsequently enrolled their son in a larger public school, trading in Bible lessons for C.J.’s ability to keep his haircut. But the school received criticism from social justice activists, including Real Justice co-founder Shaun King, and five police officers came to A Book’s Christian Academy to provide extra security.
Book reported that the vast majority of the school’s students are black. The administrator filmed herself asking students about her “rule about color,” according to WaPo. The students responded “it doesn’t matter!”
“Obviously, I’m not a racist,” Book said to NBC-2 WESH. “In our school, our song is: Jesus loves the little children of the world, red and yellow black and white, they are precious in his sight.”
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