MONT BELVIEU, TX (KTRK/CNN) – It’s that time of year. Young children around the country are excited to be going to school for the first time.
A 4-year-old boy was excited, too, but then the school sent him home and said he couldn’t attend because his hair is too long.
“He’s just so smart he blows my mind, full of energy and excited to learn.” mother Jessica Oates said.
Jabez Oates loved his first day of school and his second. Now he is home, no longer allowed in class because of the length of his hair.
“He’s never had a haircut. It’s just kind of part of his identity,” Oates said.
His mother learned of school hair policies at registration.
She said she was told she’d need a letter citing a religious or cultural exception.
Before she wrote one, she said she was told he couldn’t come back until his hair is cut.
“I don’t believe that short hair should be required to get an education,” Oates said.
The school policy clearly states the conditions for boys – above the eyes and ears and neck.
She tried a bun, but his hair was still not considered acceptable.
Oates said she won’t cut her son’s hair “because that’s who he is. I don’t believe in it. I will not cut his hair.”
The district said, “Our local elected board has established policy based on community expectations, and Barbers Hill administration will continue to implement the said policy.”
Oates said she wants to fight it.
“I feel like my son is owed the same education that all other children in this school district have,” she said.