Parents refuse to re-style boy's long hair for Mesquite ISD

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by CYNTHIA VEGA / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on January 12, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 12 at 7:02 PM

BALCH SPRINGS — It's a local story now going viral on the Internet: The debate over whether a four-year-old Mesquite boy with long hair should be allowed to attend preschool with other children.

Taylor Pugh showed up right on time Tuesday morning for classes at Floyd Elementary School in Balch Springs after being dropped off by his mom. But he was immediately sent back to in-school suspension — assigned to a teacher's aide in the library, far from his classmates.

In a closed-door session with Taylor's parents Monday night, the Mesquite ISD School Board ruled that the child could return to regular classes provided he wears his long hair in "upbraids" fastened above his collar and his ears.

But Taylor arrived at school with a ponytail atop his head, and that deviates from the district's published dress code policy.

Taylor's mom, Liz Taylor, said the compromise offered by the board is not a viable option.

"I spent half an hour last night explaining to the board that my son's hair can't be braided like that," she said. "After a certain amount of time, his scalp will actually bleed, and it'll split, and I'm just not going to do that to my son."

Liz Taylor said she is more than happy to keep her son's hair in a ponytail, if it is an issue of keeping it out of his eyes, which is what his teacher asked last fall.

But Taylor's mom said she does not believe the district has a right to decide how her son should style his hair.

The flap has continued since November, and Taylor's parents plan to appeal the Mesquite ISD ruling to the State Education Commission.

A spokesman for the district told News 8 the board believes it has been accommodating in trying to help Taylor's parents adhere to the code of conduct so that the child can fit in.

E-mail cvega@wfaa.com

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