Texas Cheer Squad Says 'No' to Curly Hair, Forcing 11 Year Old Off the Team

   By SheSpeaksTeam  Nov 10, 2015

We recently reported about a new ad campaign and emoji created to normalize curly hair and make women realize that natural curls are beautiful. Well, it seems that a cheer squad in Texas has not yet received the memo. Makayla Fallaw, 11, was recently told by her squad that in order to take part in competitions she must straighten her curls and put her hair up in a high ponytail.

Makayla and her mother Jenny were not happy with the team’s straight hair rules, but attempted to comply anyway. Makayla explains in a report from her local ABC News affiliate how attempts at straightening her hair were not working. She says, “It was bad because half of it was curly, half of it was wavy and the other half was like, straight-ish.”

Jenny believed the straightening would only do damage to her hair and was sending the wrong message. Jenny explains, “I felt like I might make my daughter feel like her hair's not good enough because she's not like the other girls.” She adds, “It would destroy her hair, so I wanted to explain to them my reasoning.” She then took her issue up with the team’s director, Kevin Tonner, who was ultimately unwilling to budge on the hairstyle rules.

Tonner explains that Fallaw was well aware of the mandatory makeup and hairstyle requirements before she signed up to be a part of the squad. He says, “When you come into the sport, you understand there is make up to it. There's hair to it. 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.”

Tonner also points out that the team voted and agreed on the current straight hairstyle. As of now, Makayla has quit the team and is looking for a new cheer squad that will embrace her curls.

What do you think of this cheer squad’s requirement that all members have their hair straightened before a competition?

Do you think they should have bent the rules to allow for curls?

Make a Comment

tawniharris by tawniharris | SPRINGFIELD, OR
Mar 05, 2017

That is just bull! I would be furious if someone made my child feel as if they had to look a certain way to be accepted. Shame on them! That is just as bad as saying a person cant do a sport because they weight too much. Besides that this is a little girl! Not even an adult woman who can stick up for herself! outrageous.

CrystalRuiz by CrystalRuiz | Cadereyta de Montes, OU
Jan 03, 2016

How can there be a straight hair rule? Maybe a hairstyle rule but a type of hair rule, seriously?

ordywife by ordywife | SPOKANE VLY, WA
Dec 21, 2015

Her hair is beautiful and she should not have to take a chance of damaging it just to "conform" to superficial requirements. The cheer squads loss. Guess only girls with boring hair need apply.

Nov 22, 2015

I understand the importance of uniformity when it comes to the same hair style, ie high ponytail, french braids, etc, but its wrong to force a child to change the texture of their hair for your personal preference. Pick a new hair style to fit the team, don't change the team to fit the hair style. There is no way to keep her hair straight after warm up or the routine, her hair would instantly start to curl as soon as she starts sweating. I hope she finds a better team. Personally, I think it's the coach who needs a change. You go girl! Stand up for what you believe in.

milkchocolatewoman by milkchocolatewoman | MATTOON, IL
Nov 13, 2015

To invoke such a rule is to potentially lose out on having some of the best cheerleaders on the team. I understand a degree of uniformity, but to ask one to change (damage!) their God-given hair texture is like telling someone to change their skin tone- NOT happening! When did the most important part of sports start being about every team member needing to look like a copy-cat of the next member, and NOT about having skills, being in-sync with one another and rallying the crowd to support the team!?! I imagine a Chemo patient who has lost her hair would be unable to participate unless the wig she wore matched their requirements....and people wonder why segregation has never died....