Mother accuses Texas cheer squad of banning only black member for braids

Mother accuses Texas cheer squad of banning only black member for braids

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Mother accuses Texas cheer squad of banning only black member for braids

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A Texas high school cheerleading squad stands accused of racial discrimination after the mother of its only African-American member claims her daughter was banned from the season-opening game for wearing her hair in braids.

As reported by Texas ABC affiliate KTRK, 15-year-old Kemirah Jn-Marie was kept off the sidelines during Sterling High’s season-opening victory against Clear Lake because she had put her hair in braids in the days leading up to the game. Her mother, Mayra Jn-Marie, claims that the team’s coach told Kemirah that she would not be allowed to participate if she arrived wearing braids. When Mayra Jn-Marie asked school officials to put that demand in writing, they reportedly refused to.

If that is indeed the case, Sterling officials will have a hard defense on their hands. The school’s official cheer guidelines state only that hair has to be, “pulled back in a secure pony tail” and hair “must not distract from the cheer environment.” The additional clause which could conceivably be used to justify Jn-Marie’s ban would almost certainly be discriminatory. It holds: “an administrator will determine if a hair style is disruptive.”

How would a team’s lone African-American student’s braids be considered disruptive if they fall within the team’s own agreed-upon guidelines?

Officials from Goose Creek CISD, which includes Sterling, insisted Jn-Marie is not being discriminated against, specifically noting that she was not the only student athlete reprimanded for her hairstyle or uniform choice. Still, Mayra Jn-Marie insists that he daughter has been discriminated against, and she is clearly fed up.

“She’s been harassed. She’s been bullied by her teacher, and I’m tired of it,” said Mayra Jn-Marie.

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