NAACP Legal Defense Fund asks Florida to take action against schools that ban dreadlocks, braids
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The NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) asked the Florida Department of Education to take action against six schools in the state that ban dreadlocks and braids, saying the policy is racially discriminatory. 

The civil rights organization submitted a letter to the Florida Department of Education (DOE) earlier this month calling out private schools over policies that ban "dreads," "dread-lock style haircuts," "twists," "locs" and "braids."


Each of the schools participate in Florida’s Hope Scholarship Program, which gives scholarships to children who experienced bullying.

The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund cited a recent Huffington Post investigation that found 20 percent of the schools involved in the Hope Scholarship Program have "hair policies" that ban traditionally African-American hairstyles.

"The forms of racial discrimination most commonly seen in education have evolved," the LDF wrote in the letter. "It is now rare to find a policy that explicitly excludes potential students based on skin color. However, subtle rules and restrictions based on racial stereotypes and proxies have the same force and effect." 

"On their face, these policies are racially discriminatory because they target forms of hair that are predominant among, if not unique to, African Americans," the letter continues. "Locs, afros, braided hair, or hair braided with extensions are a form of cultural identity and expression that no school receiving federal funding may prohibit, including private schools."

The Florida DOE did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post's request for comment. Its offices were closed due to Hurricane Michael.

The LDF asked the DOE to press the six schools to rescind their hair policies and initiate cultural competency training for staff and teachers.

--This report was updated on Oct. 11 at 10:17 a.m.