Jenesis Johnson, a 17-year-old black student, says that she was “cornered” by a teacher at North Florida Christian School harassing her about her hair.
The teacher began to question Johnson, asking her how long she’s had an “afro” for. Other students jumped into the conversation as well.
Johnson told reporters, “She said that my hair needs to be fixed, it was not neat and needs to be put in a style…My hair is fixed.”
Two weeks later, Johnson was asked to report to the assistant principal’s office.
“She said your hair is extreme and faddish and out of control. It’s all over the place,” Johnson recalls. The principal told her that her hair is against the dress code and is a distraction for other students.
Johnson believes that the actions of school administrators were driven by racism.
“It hurts me,” she told WCTV. “It’s hurting me. For my people behind me, the younger ones, they’re going to have hair like me. Why can’t they wear their natural hair?”
According to WCTV, the school has threatened to kick Johnson out of their school if she doesn’t “fix” her hair.
In the media, black women are sent the message that their hair wasn’t beautiful unless it was relaxed or straightened. In a political act of self-acceptance, many black women fearlessly rock a natural hairstyle, refusing to be chained to society’s beauty standards.
Hollywood star Viola Davis commented on the matter:
“We have to take back everything that people said about us that was negative. Saying that your hair has got to be straightened in order to be formal. Your hair has got to be straightened in order to be beautiful. Being objectified for your beauty but not being appreciated for it in the same way Caucasian women are. Taking back the light skin/dark skin thing. If you’re lighter than a paper bag, you’re cute. If you’re darker, you’re less attractive.”
North Florida Christian administrators have not commented on the situation.