A junior high student was forced to fill in his haircut with black permanent market by a school administrator after being told the artful letter "M" shaved into his fade (haircut) violated the school district’s dress code, the Houston Chronicle reports.

When the child arrived for class in Pearland, Texas, an assistant principal called him out for violating the dress code, which bans “extreme hairstyles” and “carvings.”  The child's mother posted her outrage over the incident on Facebook and noted the school did not reach out to her and told her child that he either had to color it in or get in-school suspension (ISS).

His mother's post has sparked outrage. The uproar has caused Pearland school district to issue an apology acknowledging that the administrator “mishandled” the situation.


“District administration has contacted the student’s family to express our extreme disappointment in this situation, which does not fall in line with the values of Pearland ISD,” a statement reads.

This is yet another example of continued aggressions and stigmatizing of black bodies/culture and the continued lack of cultural intelligence and empathy by teachers and staff. While the "M" is an optional hairstyle, such minor displays of culture and fashion are often discouraged or met with extreme opposition when unique to black bodies/culture. 

As the workplace becomes more inclusive and cultural competent, with many of the top earning and emerging leaders in innovative and lucrative industries like tech wearing man-buns and hoodies to the office, do we still really need to minimize cultural identity and expression for this and other black/brown children to succeed in the future? Or do we need to more thoroughly do away with these archaic ways to mask systemic bias and racism.