"The trauma and torment she suffered tonight can not be undone. Sorry baby girl, but this is America..." the child's mom wrote in a Facebook post.
A North Carolina mom spoke out about the "degrading" and "demoralizing" experience her daughter was put through late last month when the 6-year-old was pulled out of a soccer game for wearing colorful clips and bows in her hair. In a scathing Facebook post, the infuriated mother named Da'Raille Marshmon criticized the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation department for the "subjective and culturally biased ruling" that led to her daughter coming home in tears. "This is unacceptable! In accordance [with] your 'no Jewelry' rule for soccer, hair clips are not 'hair beads' or 'headwear of any type,'" she wrote.
"In the year of our Lord 2021, asking a little [6-year-old] girl to alter the wear of her hair due to a subjective and culturally biased ruling during the play of any sport is outdated and not the move. There were other options that could've been taken tonight but instead, you left us with the option of degrading the appearance and demoralizing our sweet little girl by suggesting to undo her hair clips. Those hair clips are her personal appearance that she has worn her entire life. Instead, we were left with a saddened and tearful little girl who had to be consoled while she cried uncontrollably, questioning her physical appearance," Marshmon revealed. "The trauma and torment she suffered tonight can not be undone. Sorry baby girl, but this is America..."
Speaking to ABC11 about the September 20 incident, Marshmon said her husband and daughter returned from the field after officials told the little girl she wouldn't be allowed to play unless she removed the clips in her hair before a youth soccer game. "I want a formal apology to my family and to my daughter," she said. "She went off the field, crying, confused, six years old: 'I don't understand what's wrong with my hair! I've been wearing my hair this way forever.' Other children, boys, and girls had -- they had beads on and they were playing in their game."
Marshmon revealed that although her husband asked which ones needed to be removed for the child to play, no one clarified. "My husband even asked them, 'what needs to be removed so that she can play?' He was like, 'and how about this, we'll take it as a warning about her hair, let her play the game next game, we'll know what to do.' Nobody even offered a solution for her to play in her game," she said.
Her husband then enquired about rules that govern hair during youth soccer games, added Marshmon. "So one of the other volunteers, I'm not sure her name, she comes back with a piece of paper with the rules and regulations on it. It said no jewelry, watches, rings, necklace, hair beads, hair wear of any type, can be worn during the game. My husband explained to them, this is not beads or headwear, these are ponytail holders, and clips, this is what holds her hair together. If they removed it, her hair is going to be all over her head," she said.
Maxie Dove, the assistant director at Hope Mills Parks & Recreation, sent a copy of the rules to reporters when contacted regarding the incident. He also claimed that the department has spoken with the child's parents about the safety rules and possible alternatives. "We feel the situation could have absolutely been handled much better by the official and have spoken with our booking agent about the situation," he said in a statement to McClatchy News. "The officials are not employees of the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department, they are independent contractors hired and scheduled by our local booking agent."
They start chipping away at our children’s sense of self as soon as they can in overt and covert ways… #ProtectMine— Abram L (@DrAbramL) September 22, 2021
6-year-old told she couldn't play in Hope Mills soccer game because of hair clips and bows https://t.co/WOsg1N8FXM
Marshmon confirmed that Dove had reached out to her the day after the soccer game. "He did apologize for the way things were handled," she said. "When it comes to a child feeling like they are less than because of their hair type or style, no it was not enough. But as her parent, we will move on and do our part to be better informed next time so it will not ever happen again."