Wadlington told NBC News on Monday that she posted the photo — which has been shared more than 4,000 times on Facebook — as well as on Instagram and in tweets, after it was sent to her by a client, whose child goes to the school.
That woman did not want to be identified. She said she took the photo at a school orientation.
The children's faces were shielded by yellow Post-It notes. It is unclear if they were students at the school, which has a student body that is almost entirely black.
The Morning Rundown
Get a head start on the morning's top stories.
"It wouldn’t have been so bad had they included other races, but the fact that those are all little black faces and those are traditional black hairstyles, makes it worse," Wadlington said. "They already have them wearing uniforms, why not let them have some individuality with their hair."
Wadlington said she believes the school took down the display — which shows boys with varying fades and tapered afros, and girls with braided styles — only following public outcry.
According to the poster, designs etched into a male student's hair were "inappropriate," while cuts featuring hair even across the head were deemed acceptable. The wearing of hair barrettes by female students was labeled "inappropriate."
Jason Allen, an educator in Atlanta, was among those to assert the display was racially insensitive.
"This type of display of cultural insensitivity is due to a lack of oversight, accountability, professional decorum and quite frankly, care and concern for the social and emotional impact of black children by this school’s leadership and PTA," Allen said in a statement.
"Imagine being a black boy greeted by this," Allen also said, adding it was indicative of "systematic bias against black boys."
Narvie J. Harris Traditional Theme School is in the DeKalb County School District, Georgia’s third-largest school system, serving nearly 102,000 students. Neither the school district nor the principal returned NBC News' requests for comment Monday.
“The images depicted in this post in no way reflect a policy regarding appearance,” officials said in a statement. “This was a miscommunication at the school level and is being handled by school leadership. Nontraditional schools at (the DeKalb County School District) sometimes have the option to enforce dress code and style standards.”
The school district did not say who was responsible for the display.
The incident comes at a time when cities and states across the country are making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of a person’s hairstyle.