Family of Chicago girl whose hair was cut off at school files lawsuit

The family of a 16-year-old girl whose hair was chopped off by staff members at Noble School Network's Speer Academy in Belmont-Cragin has filed a lawsuit. 

According to a news release, the lawsuit was filed against the school and two employees for wrongful conduct, stemming from an incident that occurred on Jan. 27. 

According to the release, Isamar Padilla, a sophomore, had her hair cut off during a ROTC class. Padilla was said to be exploring her interests in, eventually enlisting after high school. 

The sophomore was said to be having difficulty keeping her long hair in a bun – the accepted uniform hairstyle in the military.  

The release states that the instructor, Jose Nazario, complained that her hairstyle was not in conformance, and despite the fact it was not the military, threatened to cut off her hair to above shoulder-length. 


Mr. Nazario, along with the assistance of another teacher, his daughter, Ariana Nazario, confined Isamar to a closed off room and proceeded to sloppily chop off her long dark flowing hair against her wishes, the release states. 

The 16-year-old's family alleges the school acted with malicious intent, constituting an assault and battery, false imprisonment, and violations of the 14th Amendment and the recently passed Illinois Crown Act. They also allege that the school acted in a way that only bullies do, showing no regard for the girl’s physical and emotional well-being – adding that their hubris subjected her to debasing humility and embarrassment before her peers, the release states. 

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The lawsuit was filed on International Women's Day, calling out what they call "deliberate bias," prevalent against young women in schools based on appearances and hairstyles, and addressed by the recently enacted Crown Act, according to the release. 

The family hopes to draw attention to change needed in schools that address bias in gender, and the need to forge equality for women, the release states.