Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Document Type



When educators target Black students’ hair through school policies, they inadvertently target their racial identity, causing harm to their mental health (Joseph- Salisbury & Connelly, 2018). While previous research has looked at the relationship between a school’s racial climate and Black students’ mental health (Mattison & Aber, 2007), this research study explored the mental health of Black adults who have experienced racial discrimination or racial microaggressions, in relation to hair and dress codes, as Black students in the K-12 school system.

A retrospective survey was used to explore the experiences that Black young adults had in the K-12 school system in relation to racial discrimination, microaggressions, dress codes, and mental wellbeing. Recommendations for schools and educators were provided about racial microaggressions and discrimination, and the steps schools can take to ensure the mental health of Black students and provide a safe, healthy environment for them.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Sarah Bonis, Ph.D.


Developmental Psychology | Psychology | School Psychology | Social Psychology