Statement On NYSPHSAA Rule Regarding Hair Beads

Updated April 26, 2022

 The New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s (NYSPHSAA) Officers unanimously voted in favor of placing a moratorium upon the prohibition of hair adornments until its member schools can adequately address this topic and concerns.

Capital Region BOCES officials thank NYSPHSAA for their swift action on this important issue. We look forward to our continued partnership in our joint mission to support all students.

Thirty area superintendents say rule is discriminatory

In the last two sports seasons, there have been at least two situations in area districts where female student athletes were asked to remove beads from their hair before they were eligible to compete. 

In addition, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) recently sent a communication to school districts stating that any student athlete who choses to wear beads in their hair as part of their culture would need to seek a special accommodation or waiver from NYSPHSAA. In order to obtain this accommodation, the communication stated that the student would need to provide a picture of any “device” they wished to wear in their hair. Requests would need to be filed by the athletic director in the student’s home school district and the approved waiver carried by coaches at athletic events. 

It is our strong position that this rule is discriminatory and therefore should be changed immediately. There is no evidence that hair beads pose a health and safety risk for student athletes. Further, policies such as these risk targeting specific populations and should not be supported by school leaders or the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. We are asking NYSPHSAA to change the rule immediately and provide training to all officials.  

This statement is being issued from the following school superintendents:

  • Anita Murphy, District Superintendent, Capital Region BOCES
  • Kaweeda Adams, Superintendent, Albany CSD
  • Dr. James Franchini, Superintendent, Averill Park CSD
  • Kenneth G. Slentz, Superintendent, Ballston Spa CSD
  • Dr. Timothy Mundell, Superintendent, Berne-Knox-Westerlo CSD
  • Jody Monroe, Superintendent, Bethlehem CSD
  • Dr. Patrick McGrath, Superintendent, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake CSD
  • Carl Mummenthey, Superintendent, Cobleskill-Richmondville CSD
  • Peggy O’Shea, Superintendent, Cohoes CSD
  • Dr. James Niedermeier, Superintendent, Duanesburg CSD
  • Jeffrey P. Simons, Superintendent, East Greenbush CSD
  • Kimberly Ross, Superintendent, Green Island Union Free CSD
  • Dr. Marie Wiles, Superintendent, Guilderland CSD
  • Dr. Maureen Long, Superintendent, Menands CSD
  • Brian Dunn, Superintendent, Middleburgh CSD
  • Shannon Shine, Superintendent, Mohonasen CSD
  • Dr. Juliette Pennyman, Superintendent, Interim Superintendent, Niskayuna CSD
  • Joseph Corr, Superintendent, North Colonie CSD
  • Dr. Brian Bailey, Superintendent, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk CSD
  • Dr. Michael Patton, Superintendent, Saratoga Springs CSD
  • Dr. Thomas Reardon, Superintendent, Schalmont CSD
  • Anibal Soler, Jr., Superintendent, Schenectady CSD
  • David Blanchard, Superintendent, Schoharie CSD
  • Susan Swartz, Superintendent, Scotia-Glenville CSD
  • Thomas Yorke, Superintendent, Sharon Springs CSD
  • Dr. L. Oliver Robinson, Superintendent, Shenendehowa CSD
  • Dr. David Perry, Superintendent, South Colonie CSD
  • John Carmello, Superintendent, Troy CSD
  • Francis Macri, Superintendent, Voorheesville CSD
  • Dr. Donald W. Stevens Jr., Superintendent, Watervliet City