Teacher Complaining About Student's Natural Hair Smelling Like Oil Sparks Controversy

I learned something new today, apparently coconut oil has a strong smell, and it's unpleasant. This Monday, a Chicago parent named Tionna Norris posted a photo of a letter her daughter's teacher sent her stating that her daughter's hair had a strong smell of coconut oil and was allegedly upsetting her fellow students. Tionna posted a photo of her daughter's beautiful coily natural hair next to the note and replied: 

"“*applies the same amount of coconut oil* y’all gone feel that black girl magic. Sincerely, unapologetically black mom. P.s. Coconut oil has no stinky smell.”

According to Yahoo News, Tionna's daughter Amia attends the Raggedy Anne Learning Center and is the only Black child in the class. Tionna also noted that because of this circumstance, she makes sure she tells her daughter that she and her hair is beautiful. Tionna and her boyfriend spoke with the teacher this week in a conference. She stated that she will not be removing Amia from Raggedy Anne Learning Center and that the teacher seemed to be the only one with an issue with Amia's hair smell. On her Facebook, she stated: 

“In the conversation she explained the letter was never supposed to be offensive in any way shape or form, no one ever said anything to my daughter, and Amia’s teacher is just a complainer (she’s Russian). We had an adult conversation, and my daughter has many friends, so no I will not be removing her from the school. The teacher is also being disciplined,”

The attack on Black children's hair continues even in the most subtle ways. As we've learned, this issue is also occurring internationally even in predominantly Black spaces like in Pretoria, South Africa. This is why I always tell the Black children I work with how beautiful their natural hair and skin is. This is one of the many reasons why I will continue to advocate for and support Black owned and operated spaces including schools, businesses, etc.



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