A teen claims he was turned away from a job at a theme park because of his dreadlocks.
Kerion Washington, 17, of Fort Worth in Texas, has been growing out his shoulder-length hair for the past three years, never expecting that it would be an issue when it was time for him to get a summer job.
But the teen went in for an interview at the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park in Arlington, Texas, and it was his hairstyle that got in the way.
“I just couldn’t really believe it,” he told Dallas station NBCDFW.
Neither could his mother, Karis Washington, who took to her Facebook page to share the upsetting news.
“He didn’t get the job cuz [sic] he has locs,” Ms Washington wrote.
“I spoke with the HR supervisor and she said they gave him the opportunity to come back when he don’t (sic) have dreads … she said dreads are NOT allowed.”
According to her post, dreadlocks are considered by Six Flags Over Texas to be an “extreme hairstyle” banned by the park’s grooming policy.
However, Ms Washington thinks that there are a lot of other extreme looks that would be worse.
“He don’t have no tattoos or piercings,” she explained to NBCDFW.
“And that was one thing that she compared the dreadlocks to — tattoos and piercings.”
For Kerion, the temporary job wasn’t worth cutting his hair for.
“Why cut his hair for a seasonal job and for 7 to 9 dollars an hour?” Ms Washington asked rhetorically.
“If it was a career, different story.”
Six Flags Over Texas didn’t immediately respond to Yahoo’s request for comment.
However, a spokesperson provided a statement to NBCDFW, which said it maintained a company-wide grooming code that included standard uniforms for front-line team members and no extreme hairstyles such as drastic variations in hair colour, locks or partially shaven heads.
“We do permit braids and we also recognise that some team members may request accommodations to our grooming code due to religious, cultural or medical reasons. We work with those team members on a case-by-case basis to address his or her individual needs,” the statement said.
Over 1000 people commented on Ms Washington’s Facebook post, many of them with opinions that oppose Six Flags’ decision.
“Extreme!? Extreme is ear gauges/piercings all over your face,” one person wrote.
“This world we live would rather for you to fail than help you succeed.
“This guy is very handsome, hair is well kept, very presentable. What more are they looking for?” another said.
Others encouraged the young man to create a business of his own where he could ensure that all people and hairstyles were welcome.
Still, his mother told NBCDFW that a few people have offered Kerion jobs, so she’s sure that he’ll end up somewhere for the summer.
“Not everybody’s gonna accept him,” she told the outlet.
“But when one door closes, another one will open.”
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