Teacher Bothered By Smell Of Coconut Oil In A Child’s Hair

CHICAGO (CBS) – A child was targeted at her daycare in Elmhurst for the use of hair care products.

Braiding and twisting 3-year-old Amia Norris’ natural hair is a weekly ritual that includes several coconut oil based products to make it easier to comb.

Though the mother and child may like the smell, Amia’s teacher did not, according to a note she received from the school.

The note basically read, “your child stinks. Don’t put the coconut oil in her hair. The kids were teasing her,” Norris said.

Amia was the only black child in her preschool class at the Raggedy Anne Learning Center in Elmhurst.

“I was hurt for my child,” Norris said. Especially learning, after speaking to the school administrator, the children in the classroom never complained, it was the teacher who did not like the smell.

Norris saw the teacher to be discriminatory and racist.

“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 said.

CBS 2 called the school and left a message on the answering machine. CBS 2 paid the school a visit, that quickly ended.

Norris said the administrator apologized, but took no action against the teacher.

Norris decided to pulled her daughter out of the school. She was afraid her child would be treated negatively by the teacher and that would impact her self-esteem and confidence.

“If you cannot understand why a mother would be upset about receiving a letter like that,” Norris said. “Then you don’t deserve to teach my child.”

Norris did not go public, but pressured school administrators to consider racial sensitivity training.

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