PEARLAND, Texas – A Pearland Independent School District junior high school administrator is on leave after being accused of forcing a student to color in his haircut with a permanent marker.
The school district said that on April 17, a Berry Miller Junior High School campus administrator told the 13-year-old boy that his new haircut was in violation of the school's dress code and gave the boy the following options: notify his mother, receive disciplinary action or fill in the shape of the missing hair with a marker.
The student chose the last option.
The boy's mother said she notified district leadership on Monday, but nothing was done until Tuesday after a social media post about the incident went viral.
Pearland ISD said the administrator is on administrative leave.
"The district did not even have the courtesy to notify me that they had issued a public statement. They have been in touch with me minimally through this process, but they did apparently send a woman from the board of trustees to speak to my son without my involvement. That is completely inappropriate in the setting of an ongoing investigation of this incident. Punishing students for their style of hair is a discriminatory practice," the mother said. "The first paragraph of the district press release is meant to blame (her son) instead of immediately taking responsibility for the actions of the (assistant principal). They also lie that they provided an option for parental notification. Then, they decided to put this individual on administrative leave but do not indicate whether that leave is paid, whether they will rescind his promotion, what the timeline for action will be."
Pearland ISD released the following statement:
"Pearland ISD is extremely disappointed to learn of a situation that occurred at Berry Miller Junior High.
"A student recently arrived at school with a haircut against district dress code. Pearland ISD's dress code states: 'Hair must be neat, clean and well groomed. Extreme hair styles such as carvings, mohawks, spikes, etc. are not allowed.'
"A campus administrator mishandled disciplinary action by giving the student options including notifying his mother, disciplinary consequences or filling in the shape of the hair carving with a marker. This latter practice is not condoned by the district and does not align with appropriate measures for dress code violations.
"The campus administrator is currently on administrative leave. Further action is forthcoming.
"District administration has contacted the student's family to express our sincerest apology and extreme disappointment in this situation, which does not fall in line with the values of Pearland ISD."