From fire engine red to auburn hues, the colors available for individuals to dye their hair are seemingly endless — but that spectrum isn’t available to Washington County students.
A Washington County School District policy states school administrators can decide whether a color is too distracting. Rylee MacKay, a 15-year-old student at Hurricane Middle School, said HMS vice principal Jan Goodwin approached her Wednesday and told her hair was too distracting. MacKay said Goodwin told her hair looked purple and pink in the sunlight.
“They brought me into the office and told me (my hair) had to be changed by the next day,” MacKay said. “They told me I could finish my week’s worth (of school work) in the office so nobody could see me.”
MacKay, who had dyed her hair red on Feb. 2, said she has been dying her hair the same red since September of last year.
According to school district policy 3.1.4, “Hair color should be within the spectrum of color that grows naturally.”
HMS principal Roy Hoyt said parents sign a policy disclosure and agree to review the district’s policies with their students prior to the beginning of the school year.
“We try to consistently and fairly uphold district policies,” Hoyt said. “When students are out of compliance with the dress code, we attempt to find a resolution. Students are welcome to return to class when the issue has been satisfactorily resolved.
”When Rylee’s mother, Amy MacKay, and her daughter first saw a hairdresser to have it dyed, Rylee had picked out a brighter, less-natural red. The hairdresser advised Rylee that she should choose a shade that was more natural, so she did.
“I called (the hairdresser) and asked what color she used in Rylee’s hair,” Amy said. “The two tones she used is a mix of natural brown with red. There’s no violet or pink in it at all. We were trying to be really safe (with the color).
”Matt MacKay, Rylee’s father, received a call from the school after his daughter was sent to the office.
“They said the hair color is not acceptable, and if she didn’t fix it, I would have to pick her up right then,” Matt MacKay said.
Amy MacKay also received a call from Goodwin.
Amy McKay said: “I said I couldn’t get an appointment to get her hair dyed that night because I didn’t get off work until 6 p.m. He said my options were to go to Wal-Mart and buy a box and dye it myself, or she just couldn’t come back to school. I asked him just to giver her two more days of school and I would fix it professionally over the weekend, so then he told me he would allow her to come to school and do her work in a room in the office where nobody could see her. I didn’t like that option, so he said she cannot return to school until it is fixed.”
Hoyt told Amy that she could file a grievance with the school district, or she could have Rylee’s hair toned down by Tomorrow .
“Tomorrow he will look at it to decide if it’s OK, and if it’s not OK, she will have to be segregated into the office where no one can see her,” Amy said. “I think I’m just going to have her wash it a few times this weekend. It’s so fresh that maybe if she washes it, it will tone down.
Amy said if school administrators can agree on a reasonable red color, she would have Rylee dye her hair, but it’s not going to go back to its original brown color.