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Student's cornrows allegedly ripped from her scalp by middle school dean

The mother of a middle-schooler in Colorado is seeking justice after she claims an administrator “ripped” more than a dozen cornrows out of her daughter’s hair to break up a fight.

Brandi Lindon, a mother of six in Denver, took to social media Saturday to voice her frustration and demand change for her daughter Jordan. In the Facebook post — which has gained close to 3,000 shares and 280 comments — Lindon explains the events leading up to the December 10 incident. “My 12-year-old daughter was in a physical altercation at Lake Middle School in Denver, Co.,” she writes. “The Administrator at this school did not break the fight up properly. He grabbed my child by her hair ripping out over 10 braids in her head leaving her bald.”

Lindon says her daughter had been complaining of racial bullying the months prior to the incident — which Jordan described during an interview with Denver7 after the event: “Sometimes they just make up little jokes like, 'Dang, you’re blacker than my shoe.’” While the events immediately leading up to the altercation are unclear, after it ended, Jordan was left with bald spots. “The dean, he was very upset and I can feel the difference between a grown man pulling my head and a student,” Jordan told Denver7. “He just snatched and ripped them super hard and I wanted to cry but I didn’t cry.”

The Facebook post detailing the events includes pictures of Jordan’s scalp, showing swaths of ripped-out braids that reportedly caused her to bleed. According to a note from a medical professional who examined Jordan (reviewed by Yahoo Lifestyle), it may take anywhere from “6-8 months” for her areas of baldness to grow back.

In the wake of the incident, Denver Public Schools sent a letter to parents noting that they were placing the administrator in question — 39-year-old Travis Glatthar — on leave. But Lindon alleges that this incident is “not his first rodeo.” Since sharing her story online, she says others have reached out with similar stories about Glatthar. (Lake Middle School officials declined the opportunity to comment on any allegations against him).

As for the school contacting her, Lindon says that she received a phone call from the principal in which she was told that Glatthar had “admitted to it” and claimed it was “accidental.” But in a statement released to Yahoo Lifestyle and others, the school suggests the braids “fell” off: “Earlier this week, there was a physical altercation between two female students at Lake Middle School. During the fight, one of the student’s hair extensions fell off. Staff members intervened and separated the students.”

Lindon is disappointed with the way the school has handled it and has since withdrawn Jordan from Lake Middle School. But as her daughter adjusts to a new school, she’s decided to seek justice outside of the classroom, filing a case with the Denver Police Department on Monday.

Lindon — who set up a GoFundMe to help her with the legal fees — says she’s been flooded with positive comments online. “There’s been support from people around the world via social media and they’ve been helping us to get through it,” she says. But although some have been offering her support, others criticized her for not taking more action. “People want me to react in a more violent manner, but that would take away my ability to speak up for my daughter. It would discredit me and I wouldn’t be able to get the answers I need. This isn’t just about my child, it’s about our children around the world.”

Jordan is far from the only one experiencing discrimination in the area. According to a 2018 Denver Public Schools-commissioned report, racism in Denver schools has long been an issue — both among students and staff. The report, published in 5280 Denver’s High Mile Magazine, quotes a black educator who says he feels ignored: “African-Americans in DPS are invisible, silenced, and dehumanized, especially if you are passionate, vocal, and unapologetically black.’”

But despite it all Lindon tells Yahoo, “My daughter is very strong. She’s been very positive and just wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.” As far as advice to parents, she tells Yahoo Lifestyle: “Believe your kids and take action immediately. Teachers may stick up for one another, but when your kid comes home and tells you something, investigate for yourself. Now I’m cautious about everything I believe.” Moving forward, she hopes administrators will consider the story a lesson in protecting students. “If you see something, even if your job is at risk, tell the truth because one day it could be your child.”

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