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Vote ends school ban prohibiting dreadlocks

| Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, 5:27 p.m.

TULSA, Okla. — A charter school that incited criticism for telling a 7-year-old girl that her dreadlocks violated school policy has changed its dress code.

Tiana Parker and her parents said she was summoned last month to the administrator's office at the Deborah Brown Community School in Tulsa and told her hairstyle was against school policy. Her parents decided to move Tiana to another school.

On Monday night, the school board voted to change its policy that banned dreadlocks, Afros and other hairstyles. Dreadlocks are formed by matting or braiding hair.

The new policy says only that students and parents are responsible for personal hygiene and that administrators have the right to contact parents or guardians regarding such issues. There are no specifications on hairstyles.

School board President Kenneth James said in a statement it was not the school administration's intent to harm Tiana or her family and he apologized if any harm did occur.

James said the ban on dreadlocks, Afros and other hairstyles was prompted by health and safety concerns.

A spokeswoman for the Parker family did not return a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Tiana's parents, Terrance and Miranda Parker, did not attend the school board vote. In a statement issued to the Tulsa World, the Parkers said no board decision could “change the fact that our 7-year-old daughter Tiana was made to feel that there was something wrong with her appearance, in turn coming home in tears.”

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