Is This Any Way To Treat A Kid?

School has been back in session in most areas of the country for less than two weeks now, and while I am thankful that thus far there have been no school shootings (at least none that I’m aware of), I am furious over the blatant discrimination against kids … little kids … by two private parochial schools, one Catholic and one Christian.

CJ Stanley is a six-year-old African-American boy who was happy and eager for his first day of school on August 13th at A Book Christian Academy in Orlando, Florida.  Look how happy he looked …CJ Stanley-happyBut then … the school’s administrator, Sue Book, wiped that smile right off CJ’s little face when she sent him home for having long hair, or more likely for having dreadlocks.

“I still have the same rules I always had. The girls wear skirts, the boys wear trousers, hair above their ears and off their collars.”

The school is very small, only about 50 students and a half-dozen teachers. It was founded by Sue Book’s husband, Reverend John Butler Book, a man who believes a woman’s place is in the home, women should wear dresses, and who once wrote that he is “trying to save Central Florida from the same fate as Sodom, both inside his school and out.”  I fail to see what a little boy’s hairstyle has to do with anything relevant to education.

CJ StanleyCJ’s father wisely told the school, after a few attempts to reach some form of compromise, to remove his son from their roster, for he will not have anything to do with the school.


Faith Fennidy is an 11-year-old African-American student who attends Christ the King Parish School in Terrytown, Louisiana.  Faith’s school resumed on Monday, August 20th, and as was the case with CJ, she was sent home because of her hair style – she wore braided hair extensions.


Faith FennidySchool officials told Faith on the first day of school that her hairstyle did not align with school policy. So, the next day Faith changed her hair, spending a “considerable amount of money in the process”, but still the school officials were not satisfied, and Faith was told to pack her belongings, leave, and don’t come back.  It should be noted that Faith has worn the braids she began school with for the past two years … at the same school … but this year she was told they were “unnatural”.


For the past week or so, my dear friend David and I have been having a conversation about parochial schools and whether they should even exist, whether they do more harm than good.  We are both of a like mind that education should be about … well, education … academics.  The Constitution calls for what Thomas Jefferson referred to as “a wall of separation between church and state”.  The forbearance of religious schools, it seems to me, violates that ‘wall of separation’.  In the past, I didn’t think much about religious schools as being a bad thing, for I spent most of my youth attending Catholic schools.  But, with the recent evidence of massive abuse of children by priests and others in Catholic schools that has been going on and hidden from the public view for years, and then these cases of blatant racism that would not be tolerated in public schools, I think it may be time to re-think, reconsider the role of parochial schools in the U.S.

These two children did nothing wrong.  They were wearing their hair in the manner that many in their culture do.  I have heard the arguments on both sides that this was racism bordering on white supremacy, and that it wasn’t racism, but merely “Christian” rules.  Whichever it was, it was wrong.  It was discrimination.  It had absolutely nothing to do with education.

The U.S. education system ranks 15th in the 2018 Global Education Report, below …

  1. Russia
  2. UK
  3. Singapore
  4. South Korea
  5. Canada
  6. Ireland
  7. China
  8. Japan
  9. Sweden
  10. Finland
  11. Denmark
  12. New Zealand
  13. Israel
  14. India

It is time for us to focus on teaching our young people about history, literature, mathematics and science and leave the religious education to the parents and churches, if they so choose.  It is time for us to dedicate resources to public schools where children go to gain the foundation for their futures, where they go to learn to think, rather than allocating precious resources to vouchers for parochial schooling. This is not a ‘Christian’ nation, but a secular one where all religions are welcome, but no single religion is favoured over others.  I can see absolutely no value to a religious school to begin with, but when they ignore Civil Rights and feel that they have the right to discriminate against children based on no more than a cultural hairstyle, it is time to say, “Enough!!!” Parents:  if you don’t like it, then homeschool your children.  At least you will only be imposing your beliefs on one child, not an entire school.

Meanwhile, my heart breaks for CJ and Faith who got a first-hand lesson about discrimination at such a young age. Shame on those who taught the lesson.

52 thoughts on “Is This Any Way To Treat A Kid?

  1. This just sickening. That’s going to bring the psychological effect that those kids aren’t wanted. It’s one thing punishing a student for being really disruptive or getting into a fight, but for hairstyles? That’s stupid!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have only one question: What does hair length or style have to do with god? This is 2018, not 1965 when I got kicked out of high school for wearing my hair over my ears and collar. It wss stupid then, it is stupid now. Amen.

    Like

  3. I’m sorry these kids were victimized by ridiculous rules about hair length – they looked so cute in the pictures. Like you, Jill, I was educated in Catholic schools – right through university. Then I taught for 35 years in Catholic high schools.

    In Ontario, the clergy was gone (because of shortages) from the elementary and secondary schools by the dawn of the 1970s when I started teaching. I know that religion was taught very differently by lay teachers than by the nuns and priests who regularly used fear and guilt tactics. I hated wasting time and energy enforcing stupid uniform rules in my classroom. I recall one January day when the heat went off in my classroom. It got very cold in there and students were asking to go to their lockers to get sweaters. Some came back with non-uniform sweaters and because of the circumstances, I allowed it. Then my least favourite VP came to the door and called me outside the room. She proceeded to dress me down for allowing those sweaters. I told her how low the temperature had fallen and that they were the only sweaters they had. She was unmoved. “I want them removed.” I told her that as a parent of three children, I will not tell them to remove their illegal sweaters until the heater is fixed. I bid her good day and returned to my class. The principal spoke to me later and I told him that if he wanted to fire me, I’d be happy to leave a school that cares more about rules than about the physical well being of the students. He said nothing more.

    That being said, I agree that religious schools should be closed down and the teaching of religion should be left to the parents and their churches. I am against all stripes of organized religion because, as Sha’Tara said above, organized religion is all about power and control – neither of which contributes to the quality of education.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with both you and Sha’Tara … religion is and should be, a personal thing, not forced upon others, especially at a young age, before children have learned to question and think for themselves. Your sweater story floored me! Good job for refusing to give in to such inanity and for putting your students first!

      I went to Catholic schools 11 of my 12 school years. My sophomore year, I begged and finally talked my parents into letting me go to public school. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too bright and got in trouble so many times that the next year it was back to ol Villa Maria! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was a bit of a choir boy in high school. The teachers were 95% lay men and no women at all. So disciple was “hands on” and was quite intimidating. They didn’t need permission from the main office to slug you for infractions like not doing homework or chatting during a lesson. I learned a hard lesson in grade 9 and kept my nose clean thereafter. It was terror teaching. I vowed I would never do that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You were the antithesis of me, then, for I was no choirgirl! And you had it rougher than I did, for the most I ever got was whacked upside the head with a steel-edged ruler … but I did get that quite often, especially from Sister Imelda who took an instant dislike to me the first time she laid eyes on me, I believe! Times have changed … these days, teachers can get in trouble just for taking a student’s cell phone away during class!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Exactly – teachers are very restricted in what they can and cannot do. Any teacher that tries to make their classroom about power will lose and little learning will happen. Kids need to be respected and valued by adults who genuinely like kids. Those teachers don’t have control problems because their kids don’t want to disappoint them.
            Ha! Ours was an all boys school with an all male staff and it could get very rough. I saved my ‘nonsense’ for my life outside of school. My parents were tough so I was careful!!

            Liked by 1 person

      • Say what? Not too bright? Well then, did you get a brain transplant from some genius later on? You’re one of the brightest persons I’ve ever read from… I don’t always comment or even take the time to “Like” but I read ALL your posts, and most of your comments and I am learning how to express myself better and waste less time from that exercise, plus I learn a great deal about your country that I sort of knew but wasn’t so sure about. Not too bright? Sheesh… the rest of us should go crawl into a hole then…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sha’Tara … you will never know how much you just made my day with that comment! I am beaming from ear-to-ear– thank you very much! This means a lot to me … sometimes my confidence gets a bit low, but next time it does, I will remember your words.

          By not too bright … I did fine academically, but … hanging out in the boys bathroom smoking when I was supposed to be in class, smoking a bit of pot, cutting school to go cruising with friends … I had the dubious honour, or so I was told, of having my parents called more times in one year than any other female student in the history of the school! 😀

          Like

  4. All religions, bar none, are based on “absolute” control of an individual’s choice and denial of any right to personal choice or self empowerment. This is all about control and that control is based on the old and enduring concepts of misogyny, slavery, segregation, racism under patriarchal totalitarianism. Particularly true of Christianity, and Islam, both religions purportedly ruled by an absolute totalitarian male god. Organized religion uses “education” simply as a means to indoctrination, just as it uses its government subsidized charitable organizations, hence why such religion is so virulently opposed to socialism and must remain so. Religion: one of the greatest banes of Earthian life.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I cannot disagree with anything you say. It’s why I gave up on religion decades ago, when I came to see that all religions are about bigotry and exclusion, that they are arrogant and think theirs is the only one “true” way to believe. B.S. I believe that anybody who is a true thinker, who asks questions and tries to make sense of the answers, has to figure out at some point that religion is, as Karl Marx referred to it, the Opiate of the Masses … nothing more.

      Like

  5. Reblogged this on Failure to Listen and commented:
    Schools should focus on education. Education should be a two-way process where teachers learn about their students’ culture. In this case, Catholic schools don’t embrace black culture. Remember Catholic Churches knowingly concealed their sexual abuse of children within their ranks. #Hypocrisy #Culture is essential to education.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks for the re-blog! I appreciate it! Yes, schools need to concentrate on doing a good job teaching academics, preparing children for the ‘real world’, and leave religion to families and churches. The Catholic Church and Catholic schools have a huge black eye now from which I don’t think they will ever fully recover. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi there, sweet friend … hugs!! The A Book Christian Academy in Orlando, Florida is less than five miles from my home. I feel as you do! However, I don’t know the whole story buy MJ told me that the rules were very clear and that the kid’s dad hadn’t complied with payment/fees. Anyway … there’s no reason to take that joy from that young kid at such a tender age. I’ll find out more for you!! … __/l\__

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    The state of education in this country! … and the children suffer needlessly!!
    ‘It is time for us to focus on teaching our young people about history, literature, mathematics and science and leave the religious education to the parents and churches, if they so choose.’

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well said. The collapse of education this country coincides with the collapse of the family and, strange to say, the Church. The latter two institutions were always responsible for building character and teaching the difference between good and evil (yes, there is a difference!). Now the schools are supposed to do it all and the “Church” schools are filling this gap in the only way they know how. But it all goes back to the failure of parents to take responsibility for their own children. Good post, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Hugh!!! You are right … parents have ceded their responsibility for their own children to the schools, not to mention television and, as you and I have discussed before, electronic devices. Beeping babysitters. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s indeed unfortunate these children were treated that way. From what I’ve heard it’s against the U.S. Constitution. I’ll be surprised if one of the civil liberties groups such as the NAACP or ACLU doesn’t take it to court. The Catholic schools don’t accept money from the government so aren’t subject to it in some cases. The Catholic schools began because the Church wanted the Catholic children to learn their faith. There was also some discrimination in the public schools of the time against the Catholic children. My dad was subject to it when he changed from Catholic school to public school in the first part of the 20th Century as there was no Catholic high school in the town he was in. In some neighborhoods in the north Black parents prefer sending their children to Catholic school rather than the public school because they consider the teaching better. Not all public schools are equal as you know. I sent my children to Catholic school until I had to change them when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and I had to stay with her much of the time. Where we lived in the south there was no transportation to the Catholic school at that time and the public school bus passed right by our door. I told my children though not to let “anyone” touch them in a way that made them uncomfortable. If anyone tried they were to make a fuss and report it right away. I never told my children priests or nuns were like God. They are human so subject to sinful behavior just like the rest of us. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • If these were public schools, it would absolutely be unconstitutional. But, there is no law against private schools, as long as they meet certain academic criteria. As for the discrimination … I’m not sure how it would play out in a court, especially CJ’s case, though Faith might stand a better chance, for they allowed her to wear her braids for 2 years before saying it wasn’t allowed. You are so right that not all public schools are created equal! It depends, sadly, on the income level of the district they are in. Some schools in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods,can barely even be considered a school. Our education system needs a complete overhaul, but not under Trump/DeVos! Discrimination, sadly, is running rampant in this nation as it hasn’t done since the 1960s, but my hopes are that we can find away to begin healing the Great Divide … once Trump AND Pence are both gone, that is. We simply must learn to live together with mutual respect, else we are doomed.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Jill, this has been going on for decades. My sons youngest sons had to wear uniforms, and the youngest was nearly sent home from school one day for wearing the wrong SOCKS. Or maybe he forgot his belt. Either way they spent at least thirty minutes each day inspecting the boys clothing. I happened to attend a rare school function, held in the gym, sitting in the bleacher stands with the other students. I sat for an hour staring at the backside and exposed thong of a very tall, pretty student. At that moment I gave up on the school system. I breathed a sigh of telief when my last one exited it. It isn’t just private schools and not just against minorities. It is systematic attempts yo subjugate and brainwash our children. If I had been able to, I would have home schooled them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The wrong SOCKS??? 🙄 30 minutes a day inspecting their clothing … 30 minutes they could be learning something of value, instead … grrrrrrrrrrr.

      My daughter and I did homeschool my granddaughter, comically known as Miss Goose. We did NOT do it for religious purposes, but for health and scheduling reasons, and I have to say that for me it was the most rewarding thing I ever did in my life. And she has an excellent education, has the ability to think for herself and reason. But … there is a downside, in that she did not learn how to socialize with others and even today is socially inept, though she is 23 years old. So, yes, I would do it again, but with some changes … some things like extracurricular activities so that she learned to be comfortable among people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is exactly what I say to those friends who have and do home school. I have a friend who started it when her daughter was in Jr. High because of problems in the school, the curriculum and teachers. Public schools have become a breeding ground for girl against girl violence and some terrible things have happened to children of close friends. This young girl is an abid ice skater and in dance class so she definitely socializes. I just fear she may spend too muc time doing things with her Mom, feels more like an adult than a teen. But she is ver smart, witty and outgoing.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. These instances can easily put a child off education or cause them to harbour bad feelings that can grow. With all lessons the same for every group in the school it is a level playing field where no group is treated differently because they have a different faith. Maybe through school they all learn a new religion based on brotherhood/sisterhood regardless of colour. Religion causes constant difficulties and the reality is that science teaches more truth which the children need more. Get rid of parochial schools and you drop barriers between people.
    Cwtch.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agreed. We worry so much about boosting a child’s self-esteem, but then we treat them like this. The religion you speak of is that one I call “Humanity and Compassion”, yes? Let all schools be equal … let all children attend the school nearest their home, regardless of demographics.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

I would like to hear your opinion, so please comment if you feel so inclined.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s