Eighth Grader Told by Principal to Change Her Natural Hair Because It's 'Too Poofy'

Her aunt says the girl was "reduced to tears" by the principal's demands

An eighth-grade girl in Toronto was called into the principal’s office and reportedly reprimanded for leaving her natural hair down, her aunt claims.

Kaysie Quansah wrote in a Facebook post that Amesbury Middle School Principal Tracey Barnes called the girl into her office and told her that she needed to put her hair up with a ponytail holder because it was “too poofy” and “unprofessional.”

“I just didn’t see what the big deal was about my hair because it wasn’t bothering anybody, I was just doing my work, so I don’t see why I had to get pulled out of class just because of my hair,” the teen says in a video from CityNews. The family wishes to keep her identity private.

Quansah says that the incident left her niece in tears, and Barnes informed the girl that she would have to stay in the office until she ” ‘does something about it.’ ”

When reached for comment, Ryan Bird, the communications officer for the Toronto District School Board, confirmed to PEOPLE that a meeting took place between Barnes and a student about her hair.

“For privacy reasons, we can’t speak to the details about this specific interaction, but we are aware that the principal spoke with a student about their hair approximately 3 weeks ago,” Bird told PEOPLE. “The superintendent has met with the family and continues to work with both the family and school to resolve any concerns.”

The girl’s mother, Teressa, who did not reveal her last name, says that her daughter used to wear her hair in braids, and since she started letting it stay in its natural state she’s been chastised by the principal.

This follows a similar incident earlier this month when a girl was kicked off her cheer squad for refusing to straighten her curly hair for competitions, despite a team dress code.

While a resolution to the Toronto teen’s situation hasn’t been confirmed, Quansah hopes the experience doesn’t hurt her niece’s self-esteem

“She heard that her hair defines her beauty,” Quansah laments. “What I want her to learn is that beauty starts from within.”

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