Alabama teenager sent home from school over dyed-red hair

Fri Aug 15, 2014 6:22pm EDT

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(Reuters) - An Alabama teenager with dyed-red hair was sent home from school by her principal over concerns that her mane was too bright and distracting, the girl's mother said on Friday.

Hayleigh Black, a 15-year-old student at Muscle Shoals High School in northwestern Alabama, had been dyeing her hair red for three years without incident until principal Chad Holden called her into his office last week, her mother said.

Black, who plays flute in the school's marching band and spent her summer volunteering at a camp for children, was driven to tears after being sent home on what was her first day of 10th grade, her mother, Kim Boyd, said.

"Her lips started quivering and her eyes started watering," Boyd said. "I'm brokenhearted for my child that had her feet kicked out from under her on first day of school."

School policy dictates that students cannot have an unnatural color that is distracting, Boyd said, adding that she had no problem upon learning that the principal had sent home kids sporting bright orange and purple hair.

"But red is a natural human hair color," she said. "It can be grown."

Boyd said she appealed to district administrators, including Superintendent Brian Lindsey, who was Black's principal last year, without success.

She has retained a lawyer, who has sent a letter asking that her daughter's absence be erased from the record and that her red hair be allowed.

Holden, promoted from assistant principal at the school this year, said in a statement that he was enforcing long-standing school policy and would continue to do so.

Lindsey did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Black's stripped her hair back to its natural, dark blond color and was allowed back to school the next day, though some red splotches have remained, eliciting frequent questions from other students, Black said.

"My red hair is a part of me and is how my friends recognize me," she said. "I would really like to have my red hair back."

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans; Editing by Eric Beech)

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Comments (7)
EastBerlin wrote:
Holden seems to be on a power trip. Hair color is not a valid reason
to send a student home. As long as passing grades are being earned,
don’t hassle the students. Just wait til you are in college and no longer supervised by small a minded principle.

Aug 15, 2014 7:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Daleville wrote:
The principle is enforcing school policy.

I am sure there is a grooming and dress code and the kids should have to abide by it.

Rules are going to apply all through these kids lives and they should have to learn that they are not special and the same rules apply to everyone.

Aug 17, 2014 4:52pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
JamVee wrote:
We all have to learn to abide by certain rules in life. However, I fail to see why this Principal would choose to start enforcing this rule when the girl had been wearing it that color for several years???

Aug 18, 2014 7:47am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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