Fresno Unified may relax dress code after parent complaints

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The Fresno Unified School District may be relaxing its dress code policy after parents complained their kids missed class as a result of their hairstyles. (KFSN)

Layla Sysaknoi is known for her unique haircuts in school.

But one of the third-grader's most recent styles, a fro-hawk, got her into a hairy situation at Columbia Elementary School.

Her mother, Tara Sysknoi told us that administrators said, "Her haircut was a distraction ... and it was a violation of the dress code policy."

Tara says her daughter was sent home abruptly one day and banned from returning to class.

She was puzzled.

Her daughter had been wearing the same hairstyle since preschool with no complaints.

Another parent said her son was suspended from Tenaya Middle School for a similar issue.

"I understand that a lot of people are not going to agree with it, but as long as she is not hurting anybody it shouldn't be a problem for her to express herself," said Sysknoi.

Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson is inclined to agree.

On Wednesday, he released a revised policy removing restrictions when it comes to grooming and hairstyle.

"We've taken great strides to make sure our (proposed) policy is gender neutral and is also culturally responsive. It doesn't single out students in any single or protected class."

IN DEPTH: Read the proposed dress code policy

Nelson says the new policy also prohibits kids from being suspended or expelled for dress code violations.

"Clothing itself cannot be criminalized to a degree where our first play is to cut you out of instruction."
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The Fresno Unified School District may be relaxing its dress code policy after parents complained their kids missed class as a result of their hairstyles.


Nelson says individuals schools can develop a more stringent dress code, but they would have to provide a reason why the style in question would affect health or safety.

The public will be allowed to chime in on the draft at the next board meeting.

That is also when trustees are expected to vote on the new policy.
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