7th grader told braids are unacceptable, he can't play football

- A student in Brenham is heading back to the books tomorrow feeling he's being discriminated against.  The 7th grader says he's being told he can't play football unless he gets a haircut.

When Markaius Moore went to pick up his football uniform at Brenham Junior High School his grandmother says she was shocked when coaches refused to give it to him because she says they were told her grandson can only play football if he cut the braids from his hair.

The 12-year-old has spent his summer getting into shape and looking forward to playing football for Brenham Junior High, but when he arrived at his new school to get the equipment from the coaches he says they told him he couldn't have it because braids in his hair was unacceptable.

"They said I have to get it cut and if I don't get it cut I can't play sports," the 7th grader explains.

"He's a little black boy and we wear braids," adds his grandmother Delorise Lewis.  Lewis says she asked the coaches instead of cutting her grandson's hair was there another option.  "I said what if I braid it to his scalp.  It won't be with the ponytails and he said no he has to have a haircut."

Moore has been growing his soft, wavy hair for years.  His grandmother believes there's one reason he's being told he has to cut it.  "Racial discrimination.  That's just the way I feel about it," says Lewis.

"For them to take it upon themselves and decide that African Americans' expression of culture in hairstyle is unacceptable, proves this is discriminatory against only African American students," adds community activist Quanell X.

Brenham ISD says the policy regarding student athletes states kids may not have facial hair nor any unusual haircuts.  Lewis says her grandson is not breaking either of those policies and she isn't sure why he's being told he can't play.  She has a meeting tomorrow morning, which is the first day of school, with the principal.

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