Note from BW of Brazil: In another incident that is all too common in Brazil or other parts of the world where African descendants live, an 8-year old was apparently the target of discrimination based on the rejection of his afro textured hair. As in several other incidents (here, here or here, for example), it seems that Brazil continues to reject physical attributes signifying African ancestry in the most blatant, humiliating manners.
Police will investigate a school that requested that a student cut his afro
Courtesy of G1
After the mother refused to change the boy’s hairstyle, the school didn’t accept the boy’s enrollment renewal for next year.
Police opened an investigation into a case of racism at a private school in Guarulhos, in the metropolitan São Paulo region. The school sent a message to the student’s mother saying that he should cut his hair, a black power (afro) – that he wore. The mother refused to change the hairstyle and when she went to re-enroll the child, the school didn’t accept it.
A banner placed in the school’s entrance announced that registrations are open for next year. But the reminder didn’t apply to Lucas Neiva de Oliveira, age 8, who was studying in the Colégio Cidade Jardim Cumbica school, in the city of Guarulhos, of metro São Paulo. A third grader, he received high grades all year at the school. Still, he cannot continue in school.
The disagreements began in August, when Maria Izabel Neiva received a note from her son’s teacher: it requested that Lucas wear a more appropriate haircut because the boy complained of the length. “The hair doesn’t bother me. The only way it gets in my eye is if I pull it. There’s no way,” says the boy. Maria Izabel decided not to cut it. She sent a note to the director, who replied: “Really the thing is that this hair is not worn by students here in the school.”
“I came to talk to her personally; I spent two or three hours in the room with her because I told her this: “His hair doesn’t disturb him. He sees normally, the hair is not in his eye, it doesn’t bother him at all.” And then she said: ‘It hinders his classmates from seeing the blackboard. It’s crespo (kinky/curly) and full. This hair is not suitable,’” his mother said.
Lucas’s mother said that this holiday season she has received no notice of the child’s enrollment renewal. She got worried and called the school asking about the deadlines. This week, she went to the last parent’s meeting and went to the secretary, where she was informed that there was no longer a place for the boy.
Another mother, who testified to the police as a witness in the case, went to the school office after Maria Izabel and managed to re-enroll her daughter, who studies in the same class as Lucas.
“I just want his rights to study, understand? I pay all the tuition in advance, the best education for my child. I’ve gone through prejudice as a child and now my son is going through this,” she laments.
After the complaint of Lucas’s mother, the chief of police has opened an investigation to determine the case. “Whenever a person is prevented or is hindered from entering any establishment, including an educational establishment, which has the connotation that it is because of color or hair it is characterized in the law that determines racial crime,” says Jorge Vidal Pereira.
In a statement, the director of the Colégio Cidade Jardim Cumbica said the mother missed the deadline of enrollment renewals and was advised to put her son’s name on the waiting list.
The director also said that the police investigation is absurd and that the teacher had directed his mother to cut the boy’s hair because the bangs were hindering his vision, but it has no relation to the fact Lucas can’t be re-enrolled
According to police, the school principal has been notified of the investigation and must appear Monday at the police station for questioning.