Texas School Board Reportedly Tells Woman Grandson Must Cut His Hair or Wear a Dress and Identify as a Girl

A Texas grandmother is fighting against the local school board after the superintendent told her grandson he had to cut his long hair or wear a dress if he wanted to stay in school.

Randi Woodley's 4-year-old grandson, Michael—who's also known as "Tink"—was told by a Tatum Elementary School teacher that his hair violated the school's dress code, which mandates, "no ponytails, ducktails, rat-tails, male buns, or puffballs are allowed on male students."

The code also stipulates hair for boys "shouldn't extend past the top of a t-shirt collar."

Woodley, who has been Tink's custodian since he was 8 months old, was called into the principal's office in August 2018 and told "that my grandson's hair was too long."

In a one-on-one meeting with Superintendent, Dr. J.P. Richardson, Woodley told KETK, Richardson gave her three options: "He told me that I could either cut it, braid it and pin it up—or put my grandson in a dress and send him to school. And when prompted, my grandson must say he's a girl."

She has continued to oppose the district's regulation—which she claims discriminates against children of color. And she's not alone: At a school board meeting about the situation Monday night, some parents held signs reading "Is my hair distracting you?" and "I stand with Tink."

"I will be here at every board meeting," Woodley said at the gathering. "I will fight to get all of the rules changed."

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Posted by Randi Hogan Woodley on Friday, September 13, 2019

Another parent, Kambryn Cox, said she faced a similar issue with the school board about her son, Kellan. "My son came home, and said, 'Mom, I think there's something wrong with my hair,'" she told the station.

"With my son's dreadlocks, sometimes they do fall in front of his face," she added. "So I felt it would be easier to put his hair up, but then that's a problem [too]."

Cox and Woodley plan to continue fighting until the rules are changed and hope their children learn from the experience.

"I teach him to be his own individual, and I don't think he should ever feel insecure," Cox said.

"We shouldn't even be talking about this at any age, because hair has nothing to do with learning," Woodley added.

Woodley has created an online petition asking supporters to urge administrators that a 4-year-old should not be "bullied to cut his hair." To date, it's been signed by more than 4,000 people.

cut hair, braid dress
“I will be here at every board meeting. I will fight to get all the rules changed,” said Randi Woodley, who claims the superintendent of Tatum ISD told her that her grandson had to braid and pin his hair, or wear a dress and identify as a girl. Getty Images