When a teacher sends that dreaded note home, it's usually about one of two things: behavior issues or dress code violations. But when Tionna Norris opened up a note from her daughter's Chicago school, she found something else entirely.
Norris's daughter, Amia, who was the only black child in her class at the Raggedy Anne Learning Center, was sent home with a letter saying that her classmates were "teasing" her because of her hair. The teacher, who said the children were complaining that Amia's hair "stinks," asked Norris to "not use as much" coconut oil.
In an attempt to explain the way she does Amia's hair, Norris wrote back to her daughter's teacher, noting that she didn't directly use coconut oil for her Amia's hairstyle on the day the letter was sent home, rather just used it on her hands to give the hair shine.
But regardless, the fact that Amia's mother was the one that received a letter home doesn't really make much sense does it? Wouldn't the school send a letter to the parents of the children who were teasing her? "Did those mothers receive a letter about bullying, teaching their children about diversity and Amia's uniqueness?" Norris wrote.
Interestingly enough, after Norris went to the school's administrator to follow up about the letter and her own response, she was told that no bullying incident ever occurred and that her daughter was well-liked within the school community. Norris believes the note resulted from a lack of racial sensitivity in the school and also thinks Amia's teacher was being discriminatory by sending home a note that reported a false incident. And the school hasn't helped matters - despite the school administrator's apology, she took no action against Carol. "I was hurt for my child," Norris told CBS Chicago. "Because I am a young parent in the school or the parent of darker skin tone, I get the letter that says my daughter stinks."
Norris decided to remove Amia from the Raggedy Anne Learning Center - she was worried that Amia would be treated unfairly if she returned to her previous classroom and teacher. Ultimately, she wants to focus on building her daughter's self-esteem and confidence. "If you cannot understand why a mother would be upset about receiving a letter like that, then you don't deserve to teach my child," Norris told reporters.
While she has not gone public with the incident, Norris did turn to Facebook to share her story. "No mother, black, white, or blue should ever receive a letter as I did," she wrote. "I have a platform and I used it for every black mother and every black woman."
Much of the Internet agrees. Norris's original post, including the image of the telltale note, has been shared over 5,000 times and has over 11,000 likes. The comments section has offered a whirlwind of support.
And some users were just really concerned about the teacher's egregious spelling mistake.
Looking forward, we're hoping that Amia feels safe, welcome and celebrated at whatever school she heads to next.
[h/t: CBS Chicago]
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