A Texas mother says her daughter was kicked off of her cheerleading squad after refusing to straighten her hair.
Makayla Fallaw, 11, has been performing competitively since she was 4 years old. She's been nailing backflips and other stunts and cheering with a passion. One thing she hasn't loved to do is straighten her naturally curly hair.
According to KTRK, her hair may be the reason she can no longer cheer for Woodlands Elite Cheer.
The cheer team told Fallaw and her mother, Jenny, that the girl had to straighten her hair for an upcoming competition. The team says it's important for each girl to look like her teammates.
"When you come into the sport, you understand there is makeup to it. There's hair to it," coach and team director Kevin Tonner said.
But Jenny Fallaw couldn't disagree more. "I felt like I might make my daughter feel like her hair is not good enough because she's not like other girls," she said.
Fearing that straightening hair could negatively affect her daughter's confidence and the health of her hair, Fallaw sent an email to Tonner and the team owners.
"It would destroy her hair, so I wanted to explain to them my reasoning," Fallaw said.
According to Tonner, the team officials were willing to negotiate to keep Makayla on the squad, but the two sides couldn't come to a compromise.
"We were trying to make the exception. We were trying to find a compromise and a happy medium. And she wasn't willing to have a compromise. She was very defensive," Tonner told KTRK.
Makayla was cut from the team soon afterward.
"It wasn't about hair. It was about we don't want this negativity on our team," Tonner said.
Tonner added that not all cheer squads require girls to straighten their hair. He said each cheer team chooses a style with which to comply, which girls wear only for a few hours during competitions. Tonner said Makayla was allowed to keep her curly locks during all practices.
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