The mother of a 7-year-old is not happy with her daughter’s school after the girl was recently sent home with henna tattoos on her hands.
As part of last week’s Multicultural Day at Ed White Elementary School in Seabrook, Texas, students had henna, a traditional Indian body art often used as part of celebrations, applied to their hands. But when Tammy Samour picked up her second-grader after class last week, she wasn’t happy to see the decorations. “I asked what that was, and [my daughter] said, ‘Henna.’ And I said, 'What is henna?’” Samour told KPRC. “Somebody tattooed my daughter without my permission.”
The lesson was part of a school celebration of different cultures, including those of Spain, India, Israel, Australia, and the U.S. “Learning about culture is awesome, but I don’t want it tattooed on my daughter — it is not our culture,” Samour said. The school did alert parents to the agenda for Multicultural Day, including a note that students “will be doing henna,” but Samour says that only her husband saw the email, and that neither of them knew what henna was.
A mother is upset that her daughter came home from school with these henna tattoos on her hands. (Photo: KPRC/FamilyPhotos/CNN)
Since researching the practice, she told KHOU, she was unhappy to learn henna has ties to the Hindu and Muslim faiths. “It’s upsetting to go through Christmas with another religion’s celebratory symbolism all over my daughter’s hands,“ she said.
The timing, she said, is particularly upsetting. “We have family photos, opening presents, church, and she is going to be wearing that on her hands throughout the holiday,” she told KPRC. Though she has tried to remove the henna from her daughter, Samour says she hasn’t been able to scrub it off. The designs typically last anywhere from one to three weeks.
The school district has apologized to the family. “This is intended to celebrate diversity and not to be divisive,” Elaina Polsen, director of communications for Clear Creek Independent School District, told KHOU. “We certainly regret that we could have and we should have provided additional information as far as henna artwork.”
(Photo: KHOU 11 News)