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Dreadlocks lock student out of class

By The Associated Press

WHITEFISH, Mont. — A student with dreadlocks can't come back to class until she gets rid of her "outlandish" hairstyle, Whitefish High School officials say.

"It's not really my hair," said 15-year-old Kisteesha Lanegan, who hasn't been to school since the first day of class. "They're trying to mold me into a person that I'm not. My hair is totally irrelevant to education at the school."

Superintendent Jerry House said Lanegan was told she would not be able to attend classes with dreadlocks. When she showed up on the first day of school with the hairstyle, officials sent her home.

"We're not here as a fashion store or fashion occasion," he said. "If you want to dress in an outlandish way in your own time, that's your business. That's not our business."

Lanegan said the ban makes her as good as expelled.

At the end of last school year, school officials told Lanegan to get rid of the dreadlocks over the summer break. House said that gave her enough time to comply with a new policy banning dreadlocks and mohawks.


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Lafayette Parish school board, parents of eight students develop tentative plan to balance children's religious freedom with district's strict dress code. 09.25.00

Missouri high school updates hairstyle rules for athletes

Officials decide to change policy despite prevailing in federal lawsuit brought by basketball player who wanted to wear cornrows. 08.25.03

S.C. high court agrees juror with dreadlocks improperly dismissed
Majority says attorney's decision to strike man from serving on car-accident case was racially motivated, noting 'religious and social' symbolism of dreadlocks. 10.29.08

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By Paul K. McMasters The concept of freedom is becoming largely academic in the nation's schools. 06.07.99

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