Tags: utah | unnatural | hair | color

'Unnatural' Hair Color Gets Teen Suspended From Utah School

Monday, 11 Feb 2013 02:21 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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A girl is banned from her Utah middle school until she dyes her hair back to a "natural" color that complies with the school district dress code.

Rylee MacKay was kicked out of class last week at Hurricane Middle School in southwestern Utah because administrators felt her auburn hair didn’t fit on the spectrum of natural hair color, but MacKay's mother Amy is irritated and says her daughter has been coloring her hair the same shade of red every six weeks since September without issue from the school.

"[Originally] we talked to the hairdresser about the school rules and told her it had to stay in the natural color spectrum of red," Amy MacKay told local news site KSL.com. "At the time, the color of hair Rylee wanted, the hairdresser and I both felt maybe it was too red, a little too bright, and we made her tone it down."

But even the subtler hue had teachers complaining, and an administrator called Rylee MacKay's father Wednesday and told him his daughter would not be allowed back in class until her hair color was changed. Though they asked for leniency until the weekend so the girl could have her hair professionally dyed, the vice principal said no and "suggested I go to Wal-Mart and get a box," Amy MacKay said.

"That rule is so vague; it's totally his opinion whether it's too bright or not," she told KSL.com. "There is no set standard, no hair palette you can look at and say, 'OK, I'll go with that red.'"

The school ultimately caved and allowed Rylee MacKay to finish out the week, but demanded she be sequestered in a room in the main office to do her schoolwork. Administrators also threatened suspension if the student's hair was not changed by Monday, but Amy MacKay refused.

"I absolutely am not going to dye it brown. That is not an option," she said. "My daughter feels beautiful with the red hair. [These kids] have no leeway in how to become themselves. We don't let them do a lot of things for their own safety, but there's got to be some give. We're making little clones."

Neither Hurricane Middle School nor the school district responded to requests for comment, KSL.com said.

A handful of attire issues Utah schools have deemed inappropriate have made national headlines within the past year, with parents criticizing "ambiguous" dress codes. In May, a student at Tooele Junior High School was told her skirt was a half-inch too short. In September, dozens of students were sent home from the Stansbury High School homecoming dance for dresses which were deemed inappropriate.

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