ACLU files complaint over Malden charter school's hairstyle policy

MALDEN, Mass. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has filed a complaint against a charter school for disciplining and suspending black and biracial students because their hairstyles violate the school's dress policy.

The ACLU filed the complaint Monday with the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education against what it says is a discriminatory policy at Malden's Mystic Valley Regional Charter School.

Parents say students were punished for wearing braids with hair extensions. They contend white students have not been disciplined for coloring their hair, which also is banned under the dress code.

The school bans hair extensions; it does not ban braids.

School administrators have said the ban on hair extensions is designed to "foster a culture that emphasizes education rather than style, fashion or materialism."

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