Jaylon Sewell, a 16-year-old student at Neville High School in Monroe, Louisiana, recently attracted attention for his hairstyle. For starters, it looks a lot like the famous hair of Odell Beckham Jr.'s of the New York Giants. Shaun King at the New York Daily News started following Sewell’s story because his family filed a formal complaint with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights in November after Jaylon was kicked out of school and denied lunch over his look.
King reports that black students on campus have been repeatedly targeted by the administration over their hair, while white students who have dyed theirs are free to walk the halls. His family has said that the administration has retaliated against Jaylon by "suspending him, attempting to expel him, and barring him from participation on the NHS football team," where he is a manager.
Jaylon’s mother Bonnie Clark says that she came home from work to find a number of missed calls from Jaylon. He had reportedly been pulled out of class and was told he couldn’t return until his hair had been cut or dyed. An administrator told him and a few other black students pulled from class for similar reasons that they "looked like thugs" and asked if they were in gangs. All of them were prevented from eating lunch.
When Clark arrived at the school she was told by the administrator that Jaylon had caused a disruption with his hair. "I told him Jaylon's hair was not causing a disruption to the educational process,” says Clark, “but he was causing a disruption to Jaylon's educational process by denying him the right to attend classes.”
"He asked me why would I let Jaylon dye his hair blonde," she continued. "He told us that he won't be able to get a good job in corporate America with his hair that color. I told him I'm not concerned with him in corporate America yet. I'm concerned with where he is now. He's in high school and I would rather him experiment now instead of when he does make it to corporate America."
Jaylon was eventually allowed to return to class, but he and his mother say he continues to face harassment from school officials. The only positive thing in this whole ordeal is Jaylon’s mother standing strong against a racist administration and setting a great example for her son, who has great style.