September 27th, 2002


School Bans Dreadlocked Student
Thu Sep 26, 8:21 AM ET

WHITEFISH, Mont. (AP) - A student with dreadlocks can't come back to class until she gets rid of her "outlandish" hairstyle, Whitefish High School officials say.

"It's not really my hair," said 15-year-old Kisteesha Lanegan, who hasn't been to school since the first day of class. "They're trying to mold me into a person that I'm not. My hair is totally irrelevant to education at the school."

Superintendent Jerry House said Lanegan was told she would not be able to attend classes with dreadlocks. When she showed up on the first day of school with the hairstyle, officials sent her home.

"We're not here as a fashion store or fashion occasion," he said. "If you want to dress in an outlandish way in your own time, that's your business. That's not our business."

Lanegan said the ban makes her as good as expelled.

At the end of last school year, school officials told Lanegan to get rid of the dreadlocks over the summer break. House said that gave her enough time to comply with a new policy banning dreadlocks and mohawks.