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Girl Suspended Because Her Braids Are Too 'Disruptive'

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Twelve-year-old Shawnterya Carter didn't go to school today and her mother doesn't know when she will.

But the problem isn't her health. It's her hair.

Why? Pleasant Valley Middle School in Illinois says Shawnterya's new hair is 'disruptive'. So she has been barred from school until she changes her hairdo (pictured right).

"I don't think there's anything wrong with it," she says.

"If I felt it was inappropriate, I wouldn't let her do it," her mother says.

Over the weekend, Shawnterya got her hair done in micro braids - a popular style, especially among African-American women. It features tight, thin braids weaved into hair extensions, which flare out freely.

Shawnterya's hair reaches shoulder-length. But she also can wear it in a pony-tail.

Yet the school says its objection comes not from the hairstyle or length, but the color of the extensions. They're maroon.

Principal Sandy Somogyi told Shawnterya that her hair color was "inappropriate," and she could not return to school unless the maroon was removed from her hair.

Somogyi said "it could cause a problem with other students or be a distraction."

What about a hat or head covering? All types of hats and scarves are specifically prohibited by the school as well.

"I can understand (an objection) if her hair was neon green or neon orange," says her mother.

In the end, her mother told the principal that she didn't feel Shawnterya's hair was inappropriate or disruptive. So, the maroon is staying in and Shawnterya is staying home.

"She has done nothing wrong," her mother says. "I think I'm going to have to get a lawyer."

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