7-year-old, banned from ballet because of her hairstyle, causes uproar - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

7-year-old, banned from ballet because of her hairstyle, causes uproar

A 7-year-old girl was a hot topic of conversation Wednesday, after being banned from a ballet recital because of her hair.

"I say the woman is either sarcastic or stupid!"

That was one of the kinder calls from a Soul Classics 103.5 listener, outraged over DanceWoks instructor Karen Zissoff's decision to ban 7-year-old Destini Berry from an upcoming ballet recital, because of the child's hairstyle. Destini's hair is twisted into locks.

It's a story that first appeared in Sunday's Commercial Appeal.

Morning radio personalities P.A. Bomani, Mother Wit, and guest comedian Lomax got the conversation going.

"Another thing that got me kind of hot was the teacher only gave her a couple of options and the first one was quit," one of the personalities said, "or to dance alone for her parents only, that is so insane. I think that what got people so up in arms, cause that's just hurtful to a child">

And a majority of the callers agreed.

"It has nothing to do, like Mother Wit said earlier, with the child's physical attributes as far as dancing," one caller said.

"I think it's ridiculous what she is putting that child through," said another caller.

Karen Zissoff did not answer Action News 5's request for an interview today.

On the DanceWorks web-site, it does spell out some of the rules: that hair must be worn up off the neck and secured away from the face, and that the studio reserves the right to limit any student's participating for not adhering to correct clothing or behavior deemed inappropriate.

But callers to 103.5 weren't cutting Zissoff any slack.

"She knew initially what her criteria was when the baby came and she didn't tell the mother," a caller said, "and secondly she is telling the child to cut here hair, how is that going to make a bun smooth? And thirdly, she's got to be stupid, she's in a federally funded program. They've got rules and regulations."

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