US Army approves new grooming policy

Ga. soldier believes rules leave black women soldiers with few hairstyle options

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Army has brought out new grooming guidelines for soldiers, and those regulations aren't sitting well with one soldier from Georgia.

Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs, a member of the Georgia National Guard, said the regulation is racially biased toward women of color, and she's hoping the president can do something about it.

The Regulation 670-1 Grooming Policy is an updated version that bans dreads and twists, and multiple braids can be no more than a quarter of an inch in size.

It's an issue that Capt. Tasha Dyer, a recruiter for the U.S. Army, said is not new.

"I have been in the military for 17 years now and there were things when I joined that I had to change to adapt, because this was something that I wanted to do," said Dyer. "Now this is just something different."

In an online petition on WhiteHouse.gov, Jacobs is asking for people's support to get the policy changed. Jacobs believes the regulations leave black women soldiers with very few options to style their hair.

But Dyer disagrees. She said the rules have been put in place to provide clear guidelines for all women to follow.

"I just believe now they have more details and have gotten more specific, and it removed the interpretation to make it uniform across the board," said Dyer. "If you understand what the standard is before you enter the organization, you're going to accept it if that's what you want to do with your life."

The petition currently has about 6,000 signatures. It needs at least 100,000 in about two weeks to be considered by President Barack Obama.

The guidelines also include tattoos, and regulations on men's facial hair and hairstyles.

Penalties for violating the regulations could range from getting written up to counseling -- or in severe offenses, to a soldier being court marshaled.

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