Gwinnett paraprofessional accused of cutting hair of student with special needs

The boy’s mom said her son went to school with two long braids and several inches were cut from both.
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 6:44 PM EDT
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LOGANVILLE, Ga. (CBS46) - A paraprofessional at an elementary school in Gwinnett County is accused of cutting a student’s hair, infuriating the child’s parents.

Carla Royston and her husband have never cut their son’s Jax hair because their family takes pride in long hair.

“Our grandfather told us your strength is your hair and, with our men, a lot of the men in our family have long hair, including [Jax] father,” Royston said.

On Tuesday, the family received a call from the principal at Rosebud Elementary School informing them that their 5-year-old son’s hair had been cut, allegedly by a teacher’s aide in his classroom.

“There’s no way to justify what she did but I do want to know what pushed her to the point this is OK to do this,” said Royston.

Royston said her son, who has special needs, went to school with two long braids. She said several inches were cut from both when she picked him up, the snipped pieces apparently placed in a bag.

“It’s an overwhelming feeling of guilt because you trust someone, handing your kid off to someone and things like this happen,” Royston said.

Royston said her son’s teacher explained the class had split into groups. The teacher’s aide was working with Jax and another student. Moments later, the aide got up, said goodbye to the teacher and left with no explanation.

“She said, ‘What happened,’ and one of the students said the assistant teacher cut Jax hair,” Royston recalled. “Then she looked by his seat and there was hair on the floor.”

In a letter sent to parents on Wednesday, the school’s principal, Brittany Riddick, expressed concern and assured parents the aide would not be allowed on campus until a Human Resources and police investigation are completed.

“Our staff here at Rosebud Elementary is committed to maintaining a safe and welcoming environment: a place where each and every student is treated with the respect they deserve,” Riddick wrote. “It is a principle we take very seriously.”

Royston said the aide was always friendly to her family in the past. Now, she wonders if it was all a front.

“You always want some type of closure, understanding,” she said. “For something like this to happen, it raises questions in our mind, did anything else happen that we don’t know about because he can’t express it?”

The Royston’s have pulled their son from the school. They also plan to press charges against the teacher’s aide accused of cutting his hair.

Letter sent to parents: