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Kids with dreads can make the grade [Letter]

I was delighted to read that Cristo Rey Jesuit High School has changed its ban on dreadlocks ("No dread: Private school cuts hair policy," Dec. 2). Our school, Sisters Academy of Baltimore, sends many students to this excellent high school. There, our girls have sharpened their minds, increased their employment potential and paved their paths toward college.

It is my understanding that the dreadlocks ban was in place because of the school's internship program, and I can imagine that when Cristo Rey first opened its doors in 2007, there were many businesses that would have been reluctant to include a teenager with dreadlocks on their staffs.

Ours is a culture that is so quick to criticize teenagers, particularly minority teens — and most particularly minority teens in urban areas. Against this worldview, Cristo Rey has sent every one of its graduates on to college, and they have given their students a chance to work at businesses that might have never hired a kid from the city before. Let alone a kid with dreads.

It was time to relax the ban, for sure. But the fact that we have reached that point is, in part, because of the good work this school has done to bridge the gap between folks who don't wear their hair the same way.

It's also a cue to the community at large to continue to consider how we judge teenagers. Hopefully, it's for their work ethic, smarts and potential and not for the coils in their hair.

Jessica Gregg, Lansdowne

The writer is director of graduate support at Sisters Academy of Baltimore.

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