MALDEN (CBS) — An emergency board meeting was held at the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School on Sunday night. This comes after the Massachusetts Attorney General said the school’s decision to suspend two girls over braid extensions was against federal and state law.
Board members voted unanimously to end the suspension of the 15-year-old twins from school events and to discontinue a section of the hair policy until the end of the year.
Before the meeting on Sunday, dozens gathered to support the girls. “Let them learn,” chants could be heard as board members entered their closed-door meetings.
Last week, the twins, Deanna and Mya, told WBZ-TV they were punished because they had hair extensions.
The AG’s office wrote in a letter to the school that its hair/makeup policy “includes a number of prohibitions that are either unreasonably subjective or appear to effectively single out students of color.”
“The Board took the right action to suspend its discriminatory policy, and now needs to rescind it permanently,” said Marc Kenen, executive director of the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association.”We are proud of the two young women, Deanna and Mya Cook, and their parents, for standing up for themselves and their rights.”
The family is pleased with the results of Sunday’s meeting but said they want the policy permanently gone.
“There is some sort of relief there, to know that I won’t have to have to worry about not being able to go to track, and not go to states, and not have to deal with all this detention,” said Deanna.
I’m proud of my girls for sticking with this,” said father Aaron Cook.
At the event, the girls told also WBZ-TV that they were humbled by the community’s support.
One supporter shared her connection and said, “I’m here because I have a daughter who is mixed. She’s black and Dominican and I want her to fully embrace herself.”
The school originally argued that their policies were to minimize fashion expenses for school families.
“The specific prohibition of hair extensions, which are expensive and could serve as a differentiating factor between students from dissimilar socioeconomic backgrounds, is consistent with our desire to create an educational environment, one that celebrates all that students have in common and minimizes material differences and distractions,” School Interim Director Alexander Dan said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has also filed a complaint against the school.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports