Religious Discrimination Being Taught by America’s Schools

Discrimination Frowned Upon by American Culture

In today’s American culture, discrimination of any kind is supposedly frowned upon. Christian businesses are being sued for refusing service to gay people, other businesses are being sued for refusing to allow people to pray or otherwise practice their religion. Making fun of or bullying anyone because of their weight, religion, sexual preference, race, etc is not only considered immoral and wrong, but in many cases, it is illegal. So how is it that students as young as five years old are being discriminated against for their religious beliefs by American school systems?


Religious Discrimination Apparently Okay?

Religious discrimination is alive and thriving in our school systems, and it isn’t just for Christians anymore. Several years ago, Christian students began losing their rights to express their religious beliefs while in school. It became wrong to pray, read the Bible, or even mention God at school functions. Even Christmas became taboo in American society, with manger scenes and religious songs being named as offensive. But apparently, it isn’t just the Christian religion that is being pushed from our public schools. In fact, it seems that not only is religious discrimination being allowed in our school systems, but that even starting in kindergarten, kids are being taught by the actions of their school administrators that they can be punished for their beliefs.

Navajo Kindergartener Sent Home for Long Hair

According to Indian Country Today, a five year old Native American boy was ordered to go home from school on Monday and told he could not return unless he cut his hair. The boy, who is an enrolled citizen of the Navajo Nation was attending his very first day of school at, of all places, F.J. Elementary School in Seminole, Texas. Long hair is considered to be sacred by the student, Malachi Wilson’s tribe, and as a part of his religious beliefs, his hair had not been cut. The school’s mascot is a Native American from the Seminole tribe, complete with long hair, and yet young Malachi was told that his long hair was against the school’s policy.

Exactly what kind of message did this child receive from the actions that the school undertook? At the tender young age of five, this boy has already been exposed to discrimination. His mother explained, “It’s kind of heartbreaking because how do you explain to a 5-year-old that he’s being turned away because of what he believes in? Because of his religion—because of what’s part of him? Our hair is sacred to us.”

Of course, the news and social media took off with the story in a frenzy. The boy’s mother contacted the American Indian Movement, and fought for her boy’s right to attend school. When all was said and done, the school finally allowed the child to return to school after his other was made to bring proof of his heritage. That’s more than we demand of illegal aliens receiving food stamps these days! The school stated that they were simply enforcing their own policies that require boys’ hair to be no longer than their collars. No matter how it is sugar-coated, Malachi was discriminated against and he is not the only one.

Rastafarian Student on Unlimited Suspension for Long Hair

In Louisiana last month, an unnamed Rastafarian student has been placed on unlimited suspension because of his long hair. The boy, who is in high school, has gained the support of the American Civil Liberties Union after the South Plaquemines High School in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana sent him home. This school system also maintains in its policy that boys’ hair should be no longer than their collar.

Rastafarian religion states that a male should not cut their hair, but that it should be grown into dreadlocks. The boy’s mother explained his religious beliefs to the school, and even brought a letter from their church, but the school board informed her that this was not enough to exempt her son from the policy. According to the Huffington Post, as soon as the ACLU became involved, the school did relent somewhat, stating that the board was deciding how to proceed, and may even allow the boy to graduate early. Sounds like an extremely bright student was almost kicked out of school for his religious beliefs. With guns, drugs, teen pregnancy and even teachers being arrested for having relationships with students, don’t these school boards have better things to worry over than the length of a student’s hair?

Precedence Already Set in Such Cases

Perhaps one of the oddest things about these school systems even showing the least bit of religious intolerance and discrimination against students is that precedence in such cases has already been set. In 2008, an appeals court sided with a Native American student who had been sent home due to his long hair. This case, which was also in Texas, showed that the Needville School District’s policy for boys to have short hair cold not be used to discriminate against any child for their religious beliefs. So why are we still doing so? One could wonder if perhaps our children are being taught at a very young age that discrimination is a part of life, and that they should just accept it.