Malachi Wilson’s first day of school did not go as he or his parents expected. The five year old showed up for his first day of kindergarten at F.J. Elementary School in Seminole, Texas with his hair in a long braid. Principal of the school, Sherrie Warren sent Malachi home immediately stating that since he is a boy, long hair is not acceptable.
The school’s choice to send Malachi home, missing his first day, violated both his constitutional rights and Texas law. Texas law states allows for protection to freely practice religious beliefs. The First Amendment to the Constitution protects Malachi’s choice to keep his hair long because it is part of the family’s ethnic heritage and religious beliefs.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution protects against gender discrimination, which occurred when Principal Sherrie Warren stated that the school only allowed females to have long hair.
Malachi’s mother, April Wilson, explained to the principal that due to their Navajo and Kiowa heritage, hair is sacred and should not be cut. Once April Wilson signed a form stating that Malachi’s long hair is part of their ethnic heritage and religious beliefs, he was allowed to attend his second day of kindergarten with his long braid intact.