Mom and daughter refused to straighten her natural curls for cheer competitions

By Julie Mazziotta
Updated December 02, 2020 12:16 AM

A Texas girl has little to cheer about after being dismissed from her squad for a dispute over her curly hair.

Makayla Fallaw, 11, was told that her naturally curly hair must be straightened and pulled into a high ponytail for competitions with her squad, the Woodlands Elite Cheer Team in Tomball, Texas, ABC13 reported.

“It was bad because half of it was curly, half of it was wavy and the other half was like, straight-ish,” Fallaw said about trying to straighten her hair.

Her mom, Jenny, said that she was only informed of the rule a few weeks ago, and is concerned about how it would effect Makayla’s self-esteem.

“I felt like I might make my daughter feel like her hair’s not good enough because she’s not like the other girls,” Jenny told ABC13.

Makayla, who started cheering at age four, wasn’t ready to give up the sport. So Jenny immediately reached out to the team’s owners and director.

“It would destroy her hair, so I wanted to explain to them my reasoning,” she said.

The team director, Kevin Tonner, told the news station that he went into the meeting willing to find a compromise.

“When you come into the sport, you understand there is make up to it. There’s hair to it,” he said. “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.”

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Tonner said it was Jenny’s attitude that led to Makayla’s dismissal from the team.

“It wasn’t about the hair,” he said. “It was about we don’t want this negativity on our team.”

Tonner explained the squad is only required to have straight hair for competitions – not during regular practices. They all voted and agreed on the hairstyle, he said, and added that other teams may have the same requirements.

Jenny said that she’s going to look for a new cheer team for Makayla, perhaps one that allows a little more bend – to their hair styles and their rules.