TOMBALL, Texas -- The mother of a Texas girl said her 11-year-old daughter was kicked off the cheer squad over a dispute about the child's hair, though the cheer coach said it was about much more than that. Issues arose when Makayla Fallow's cheer coach ordered her to straighten her hair to look like the other girls on the squad.
"When you come into this sport, you understand that there's makeup to it and there's hair to it," Woodlands Elite Cheer coach Kevin Tonner said.
Makayla's mom said her daughter's curly hair is the source of the child's strength and confidence. During a meeting with the coach, Makayla's mom said she was told her daughter would not be allowed to compete unless she straightened her hair in a high ponytail like all the other girls.
"It would destroy her hair, and so I wanted to explain to them kind of my reasoning," Makayla's mother Jenny Fallow said. "I felt like I might make my daughter feel like her hair is not good enough, 'cause she's not like other girls.'"
Coach Tonner said during that meeting he offered Makayla's mother a compromise, but her mom would not meet him in the middle.
"We were trying to make the exception. We were trying to find a compromise and a happy medium, and she wasn't ... she wasn't up for that compromise and happy medium. She was very defensive," Tonner said. "It wasn't about hair. It was about we don't want this negativity on our team."
In the end, Fallow said she should not have to compromise her daughter's natural beauty and talent.