Pittsburgh high school students fighting ‘outdated’ hair policy, claim it’s racially biased

Pittsburgh high school fights hair policy, claims it’s racially biased

PITTSBURGH — An African American student at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh was told to change his hair or go home.

The dress code at Central Catholic prohibits lines, braids, locks and twists – but some students say that rule is outdated in 2020.

Now, his classmate -- a member of the school’s football team -- is getting signatures from students in an effort to convince the administration to change its hair policy.“

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This is a Christian Catholic institute. Is God going to deny me because I have dreads, plats or twists?” said Julian Younger.

Younger says those styles are a part of the African American culture.

He sprang into action after he and some of his friends were told to change their hair or else.

"We’re trying to get people to sign the petition and we’re going to try and present the PowerPoint to the school and hopefully they hear us out,” Younger said.

The current hairstyle policy in the school’s student/parent handbook reads, “Hair must be its natural color, clean, neatly combed, not totally covering the ears or eyes, or falling below the shirt collar. Sideburns may not extend below the ear or extend forward toward the cheek. Shaved heads or hairstyles with designs, patterns, lines, weaves, spikes, braids, locks, twists, or ponytails are not permitted. Closely cut sides and top (military style) are permitted. Hair shall not exceed 2 1/2 inches from the scalp.”

WPXI went inside Central Catholic to speak with the principal.

He didn’t’ want to go on camera, but gave WPXI the following statement:

“Our Student / Parent handbook covers a wide range of policies and procedures. As a private, Diocesan high school, Central Catholic enforces a dress code, which includes policies on hairstyles and facial hair. Students and parents agree to abide by these policies when their son is enrolled at Central Catholic, and they sign a Memorandum of Understanding at the beginning of each school year. The dress-code requirements are all-encompassing, and are not intended to single out any one individual.”

The students plan to give the signed petition to school leaders.

The dress code at Central Catholic prohibits lines, braids, locks and twists – but some students say that rule is outdated in 2020.
The dress code at Central Catholic prohibits lines, braids, locks and twists – but some students say that rule is outdated in 2020. (WPXI.com)