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My mom tells the story of how more than 40 years ago, when she arrived for college in Topeka, Kansas about the challenge she faced finding someone to “do” her hair.

Think things have changed much?

Not if you go by a recent story in the news about an Ohio school that decided to ban puffs and braids.

Here is yet another reminder of what black girls and women continue to face when it comes to expressing our natural beauty. It also points to a huge divide, culture wise.

Can you imagine ponytails and scrunchies or maybe the Jennifer Anniston hairstyle being banned at white schools? Who ever made this decision, black or white, isn’t being sensitive to the needs of parents and their children. If they were, they’d know that a bad hair day is nothing to kid around about. With all of the things on the plates of children, teens and their caretakers, if they’ve found a workable style that makes everyone feel good, the last thing they need is for some bureaucratic decision to be added to the mix.

Even today in metropolitan cities full of black folks and black hair stylists, finding someone you can trust, depend on and afford isn’t always easy. Thankfully, I only have my hair to be concerned about since my two boys are very low maintenance when it comes to this area. A good barber, $30 bucks for the two of them and we’re good to go.

But I do have nieces and friends with girls and I’ve witnessed first hand the effort and sometimes struggles they have to go through to keep their hair looking right while having to make some major decisions regarding perms, excessive heat, extensions and even weaves.

Crowning Glory: Why Black Girls’ Natural Hair Shouldn’t Be an Issue in Schools  was originally published on

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