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These Teens Were Banned From Prom And Track Because Of Their Hair, So They Challenged Their School

"It's just my hair."

Posted on May 22, 2017, at 6:54 p.m. ET

Meet Mya and Deanna Cook. The 15-year-old twins go to Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden, Massachusetts.

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The twins told BuzzFeed News that they were repeatedly punished for their hair extensions, which are against the school's dress code.

After their third infraction, the twins were barred from attending school activities, their mom, Colleen Murphy-Cook, told BuzzFeed News.
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After their third infraction, the twins were barred from attending school activities, their mom, Colleen Murphy-Cook, told BuzzFeed News.

Like prom.

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And track.

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Alexander Dan, the interim director of the school, argued in a letter that hair extensions signify wealth and, in turn, unfairly highlight class differences between students, causing distraction.

"The specific prohibition on hair extensions, which are expensive and could serve as a differentiating factor between students from dissimilar socioeconomic backgrounds, is consistent with our desire to create such an educational environment, one that celebrates all that our students have in common and minimizes material differences and distractions," the letter read.

Other students told BuzzFeed News that they witnessed and faced similar discrimination.

All because of their hair.

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The ACLU filed a complaint last Monday against the school, arguing that the rules unfairly target students of color.

"The hair policy in particular, while not specifically mentioning these prohibited classifications, advances a standard of appearance that is based on Caucasian,

Christian, and Western norms," it reads.

Then, on Friday, the Massachusetts Attorney General's office sent a letter to the school, demanding that parts of the dress code policy be suspended.

The letter states that the dress code specifically affects students of color. For example, it states hair extensions "are more likely to be worn by black female students."

The attorney general's letter also said that it found evidence that other students, who are white, had broken similar rules but had not been punished. "To the extent that MVRCS has applied the policy unequally to punish students of color more frequently or more harshly than other students, that too is clearly unlawful," it reads.

The attorney general's letter also said that it found evidence that other students, who are white, had broken similar rules but had not been punished.

"To the extent that MVRCS has applied the policy unequally to punish students of color more frequently or more harshly than other students, that too is clearly unlawful," it reads.

At a meeting on Sunday night, the school board decided to suspend portions of the dress code for the rest of the school year.

"I want my daughter to know that her hair is a part of who she is & this is not okay" -Supporter outside #Malden Ch… https://t.co/4S31O5u7md

The twins can now participate in activities and don't have to serve their outstanding detentions, their mom said. But she also said that this is only the beginning.

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"This racist policy has not been changed," she said. "Our fight is not over until the policy is permanently removed."

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