Advocacy & Resources for African American students in Chicago Public School
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My daughter, Jada Pryor was harassed and physically attacked after coming to school with her new hairstyle known as locs. Jada has attended Galileo since kindergarten and has been in class with the same kids for 6 years. Like many young black girls, Jada has received chemical treatments known as perms to alter the natural texture of her hair and has worn her hair straight for many years. This is tied to a long struggle in the African American community. Jada asked to no longer chemically process her hair for two years prior. She was extremely excited to embrace her natural texture. The first day at school with her new look, she was antagonized, her hair was pulled, she was called Medusa, taunted saying "don't look at her, close your eyes." This occurred two days in a row with Jada being devastated and brought to tears. As parents, we immediately met with the school and expected a zero tolerance policy to respond to the incident. However, the school administration has failed to demonstrate any response. In fact during a meeting with Vice Principal and counselor, the matter was taken very lightly. There were jokes made about understanding the "struggle" with black women and their hair. We were told the kids were likely joking and not intending to cause harm. The Parents of these children were not contacted for more than two days after the start of the incident and no teacher reported these incidents despite them occurring during class time. Since reporting this incident we feel our daughter is being targeted by school administration in an attempt to have us leave the school and not bring light to this issue. We will not leave. We believe formal discipline is in order. We also believe matters such as these have a history of showing racial bias in how school administration addresses African American children and opportunities for discipline. Therefore, we also believe it is necessary to have more resources and advocacy for African American children similar to the programs and cultural events that occur for other minorities.
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