The Archdiocese of New Orleans plans to re-examine school policies that may "affect cultural differences in school communities," it was announced Friday.
The announcement from the archdiocese comes as the two sides of what has become a national conversation on the appropriateness of some ethnic hairstyles have agreed to meet on Monday to try to return two sixth-grade students to class at Christ the King School.
The archdiocese said it plans to "reconvene the Superintendent's Advisory Council to address school policies."
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The announcement indicated that the Archdiocese would be seeking input from parents, faculty and students on issues that might differ among cultural groups.
"The Office of Catholic Schools recognizes the importance of engaging parents, faculty, and students to gain their input. We remained committed to being a welcoming school community that celebrates our unity and diversity," said the statement from Superintendent Dr. RaeNell Houston.
Despite a temporary restraining order that would allow them to return to Christ the King School, two sixth-grade students who have been embroiled in a dispute with the school over "extensions" in their hair remained out of class Friday.
A lawyer for the families of Faith Fennidy and Tyrielle Davis said he would meet with a lawyer for the Archdiocese of New Orleans on Monday in hopes of figuring out a peaceful and smooth return to the school for the students.
“We are glad that the judge has granted a temporary restraining order allowing these children the option to return to school,” said James Williams, an attorney for the families. “We look forward to sitting down with the leadership of the school and the archdiocese to hopefully come up with a peaceful solution.”
Judge Piper Griffin signed the order allowing the girls to return to school prior to a court hearing on Sept. 6.
Neither girl has attended class since they were informed on Monday, Aug. 20 that they were in violation of the school’s newly-instituted hair policy and could not attend class.
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Court filings show that both girls received warnings on the first day of school, Aug. 9, and that the parents apparently tried to work within the system to get their daughters’ hair inline. But, the filing says, the school said those efforts still fell short.
A policy instituted during the summer said that hair for girls had to be all their own. Extensions are additional hair that is added into the natural hair to allow for braiding and other styles.
The story went national after a relative took a video of Fennidy in tears as she left the school on Monday in a dispute over her hair. Fennidy has been invited to take part in the Black Girls Rock Awards show this weekend in New Jersey. It’s a show sponsored by Proctor and Gamble that highlights achievements by women of color.
“Faith has received overwhelming support from thousands of people all over the world,” said Steven Fennidy, Faith’s brother. “We would like to thank everyone for their love and support. The expressions of support are helping to lift Faith’s spirits during this difficult time.”