African American teens say they were denied jobs at Six Flags over hairstyles

Two African American teens say they were denied jobs at Six Flags Over Texas because of their hairstyles.

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Both teens were told they would have to cut their hair if they wanted jobs at the Arlington amusement park, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Brandon Kobe Pierce, 16, told WFAA-TV he's worn his hair in a braid that reaches just past his shoulders for his whole life. He recently interviewed for a job at Six Flags Over Texas, and said interviewers told him his braid wouldn't be allowed.

Pierce said he left the interview feeling dejected because he considers the braid a part of his identity. The Six Flags interviewers told him that women employees are allowed to put long hair in a bun, but that male employees don’t have that option.

"If girls are able to pull their hair back and have it long, then guys shouldn't have to cut their hair," he said.

Keiron Washington, 17, told local media he had a similar experience. The teen interviewed at Six Flags, and was told he’d have to cut his shoulder-length dreadlocks he’d been growing for years.

"They told me that I couldn't have dreads because it's more of an extreme hairstyle," Washington told NBC DFW.

Washington’s mother, Karis Washington, called the Six Flags Human Resources department to ask for a more detailed explanation.

"She said dreads are NOT allowed but he can have braids. And said they are an extreme hairstyle," Karis Washington wrote in a Facebook post. "She also went on and compared them to tattoos and piercings."

The Facebook post had more than 17,000 shares as of Saturday afternoon.

"Why cut his hair for a seasonal job and for $7-$9 an hour? If it was a career, different story," Karis Washington told NBC DFW.

Six Flags released the following statement regarding both incidents:

“Six Flags is one of the largest seasonal employers in the country, hiring more than 30,000 team members across 26 parks annually. We maintain a company-wide grooming code that includes standard uniforms for front-line team members and no extreme hairstyles such as drastic variations in hair color, locks or partially shaven heads. We do permit braids and we also recognize 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.”

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