DURHAM, N.C. — A Hillside High School junior is heading back into the school year after influencing the change in a discriminatory rule.
Nicole Pyles is a softball player for the school. She was forced to cut the beads out of her hair during an April 2021 softball game against Jordan High School. The opposing team’s coach complained twice about her hair, saying he could not see her jersey number and that the beads were a safety violation.
Pyles shared a picture from the game with Spectrum News 1.
“In my mind it just sounded like a lot of crap,” Pyles said. “We were all able to see my number in the picture. We were all able to see that my braids were in a bun. We were all able to see that it wasn’t really causing a problem.”
Pyles was violating a rule put in place in 2012 that considered beads a violation.
The National Federation of State High School Associations has since changed that rule. A press release from July says, “The committee did not believe that the use of hard items, such as beads, presented an injury risk to other players. In contrast, the prohibition of such items has been interpreted as adversely affecting one’s cultural background.”
Pyles says through it all, her focus was on being a good teammate.