A school sends a boy home for honoring his heritage by adhering to sacred tradition. The 5-year-old kindergarten student was told he couldn’t stay in class his first day of school because he needed to cut his hair. Malachi Wilson in Seminole, Texas, experienced a rough first day when he couldn’t stay with the rest of the kids at the start of school on Monday.
CBS 7 News reports that as a member of the Navajo Nation, it’s against the religion of the boy’s parents to cut his hair.
“Malachi was excited to start school all summer long. After we had enrolled him he was excited, everyday it was the question, ‘mom are we going to school?'” says Malachi’s mother, April Wilson.
The district claims they were simply following procedure. Required documentation proved that the kindergarten student is Native American and that he was allowed to register at F.J. Young Elementary.
“Our hair is sacred to us, it makes us part of who we are.”
“I trim it, it grows back.”
According to the report, Malachi has a “certificate in blood from the Navajo Nation stating he is at least one half Native American.”
“He’s more native on his dad’s side than on mine,” April tells the news source.
April contacted Navajo Nation about her son being sent home for honoring his religious heritage by keeping his hair grown out. By the end of the school day, the school allowed Malachi back once the district approved his documentation.
Malachi’s mother says;
“I also spoke with the American Indian movement, they had also contacted the superintendent, when they contacted the superintendent, they had told them that they were going to accept Malachi into school.”
School district officials pointed to a segment in their handbook that reads “certain recognized religious or spiritual beliefs may qualify for an exception from provisions of the dress code.” Additionally, the handbook indicates that with proper documentation all students are allowed.
April is still bothered by how her son’s first day at school was handled. Even though everything has been smoothed over, she’s not willing to let this go. She expresses her disappointment in what she views as a discrimination issue:
“It’s kind of heart breaking because how do you explain to a five-year-old that he is being turned away because of what he believes in, because of his religion, because of what’s part of him, how do you explain that to him?”
April is so disgusted about her son being sent home that she’s considering pulling him out of public school and consulting a lawyer about a possible discrimination case.
Eyewitness News 4 adds that more than 100,000 of 300,000 Navajo Nation members live in New Mexico.
[Image via CBS 7 News]