The drama going on at Tatum, TX, the school my mom graduated from, is really the talk of the town.
Randi Woodley is the grandmother of a 4-year-old student at Tatum Primary School. Woodley claims the superintendent, J.P. Richardson, told Woodley to either cut the 4-year-old's hair or "put [him] in a dress."
Woodley went public in September with what was going on between the school and her grandson. It gained a lot of attention locally, including mine. Then, it hit the press from ABC News to CNN. I've seen people saying Woodley and her grandson should follow the rules — but I've seen more people saying the system needs to change.
If you ask me, It's discrimination but undercover.
What do I mean by undercover discrimination? The rules severely limit how people express themselves, especially minorities. In Tatum, if you played sports and had long, natural hair, you would get a pass. Trust me, I've seen it happen. If you didn't play sports, then you just had to follow the rules, no questions asked. Other superintendents were cool with some people wearing their hair down. That was before J.P. Richardson, the former superintendent of Gladewater, came to Tatum.
Ever since Richardson came to Tatum, people have claimed he was discriminating against minorities, like the timeline below charges:
The alleged timeline of discrimination at Tatum ISD
Personal photo / Facebook
I'm not really surprised the direction he took the hair policy once he came to Tatum. One of my friends at Tatum had to go back to his old school because he was told to cut his hair or do something else with it.
Things are looking really funny in the light for J.P. Richardson. It makes you think whether is he doing it for his satisfaction and not his students' best interests.
Last, but not least, what in the hell does a 4-year-old's hair got to do with their education?
Books don't care about his hair, so why should the superintendent be worrying about how he or she should wear their hair? Focus on what's more important and fixed that outdated rule that's been there since the '60s. The time where — well, you know what I'm about to say — exists and still exists today. For the people who want this to change, you all have to fight for your rights to get to that goal.
Attend every school board meeting, stay active on the updates, and vote like hell.
Longview, Pine Tree, Marshall, and other high schools let them wear their hair down. The school board at Tatum is behind. It's 2019 and this is America. Tatum must paint a better a picture for themselves as if they're the best school in Texas. But if you want to be the best school in Texas, you have to start with creating equality.
And as of right now, I'm not seeing it.