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Central Catholic to students: cut your dreadlocks or don't come to class

Malachi with his hair braided above collar length (courtesy: Maylin Wattley).

*Maylin Wattley told NBC 24 both of her children will be withdrawn from Central Catholic High School.

Toledo,Ohio (WNWO)-- "They keep telling me to cut my hair, that's basically saying like they don't accept my culture here," said Malachi Wattley, whose been attending Central Catholic high school since June. He's has had his dreadlocks since the fourth grade.

"They symbolize freedom. They symbolize my natural hair,” said Malachi. However on Tuesday, two weeks into school, he was forced to return home for not cutting his hair.

It all started last week Friday when Malachi was stopped by a teacher.

"He said I hate to be the bad guy but he had to give me a cite."

"Malachi's current length and color do not comply with the handbook and will need to be adjusted," said his Mom Maylin Wattley reading the letter.

Over the weekend Maylin, worked with a hairstylist dyeing the tips back black and getting her son’s hair braided above his collar.

"The words that they used in the letter was "adjustment" we did adjust his hair ," said Wattley.

But the school says the adjustments are not enough. NBC 24 spoke with School Representative, Kelly Donaghy with the Catholic Diocese of Toledo. She said while the school does now allow dreadlocks, the hairstyle needs to be cut above shoulder length. "The man bun sorts of style is distracting," said Donaghy.

And on Tuesday School Officials said Malachi either had to cut his hair or not return to school.

The handbook states hair must be cut above shirt collar length along with no dreadlocks.

Maylin says she signed the handbook policy, but says the school also gave her son permission to keep his dreadlocks .

"Mr. Dempsey, he told me as long as it's neat and presentable it shouldn't be a problem," she said speaking of the school's Principal.

"There's other kids that have graduated central with dreadlocks all different types of colors," said Malachi.

I asked Central Catholic if they gave Maylin permission to keep Maalchi's dreadlocks,they said they cannot discuss what was said between parents and school officials and are looking at this year's enforcement.

"When you look at Central Catholic who is wearing dreadlocks, you're targeting a specific type of people," said Maylin.

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