We've told you about crazy workplace controversies surrounding perfume and how co-workers can be driven nuts-and even made sick-by each other's fragrances. Now, a new story out of Seattle takes a similar issue to a whole new, way more serious level. A teacher at an elementary school allegedly asked the only black student in her class to leave because she claimed an allergy to the 8-year-old girl's hair product (Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion). According to several accounts, the student was removed from her accelerated classroom and put in a different class. Her parents weren't notified by the school and when they learned about the incident from their daughter, they filed a complaint.
A school spokeswoman said the school agreed that what happened was not appropriate, but that race was not a factor and any allegations of racial insensitivity are "wholly untrue." While we're inclined to believe that the teacher isn't a monster, it seems clear that some areas are so tied up with racial and cultural issues (hair, makeup, clothes, and music all spring to mind) that there's really no such thing as an innocent comment-much less an innocent classroom expulsion. When you single out the only child of color because of her hair and ask her to leave the room, you've told her-and all her white classmates-that her hair is different, strange, and something to fear. And that's not a great lesson for any of your students.
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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Organic Root Stimulator