Attorney now involved over absence of student with dyed hair - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Attorney now involved over absence of student with dyed hair

Hayleigh obeyed her principal's request to remove the red dye, but her family now objects to her being marked absent. (Source: WAFF file) Hayleigh obeyed her principal's request to remove the red dye, but her family now objects to her being marked absent. (Source: WAFF file)
MUSCLE SHOALS, AL (WAFF) -

A girl who was sent home on the first day back to school in Muscle Shoals due to the color of her hair has now been marked as absent on her attendance record. 

Her family is now requesting - through their lawyer - to excuse the absence.

Hayleigh Black was sent home before the bell even rang because the principal deemed her hair to be too distracting. Black obeyed her principal's directions and stripped the red hues from her hair - the same shade she said she'd worn for the last three years - just so she could be back at school the following day.

The family's attorney has sent a formal letter to the school, asking them to reconsider their decision to mark her as absent. Jon McGee said they have specifically asked for the absence to be marked as excused. 

The family is concerned the absence may interfere with possible exam exemptions and other school-related issues later in the year.

According to the student handbook, students found to be out of compliance with the dress code will not be allowed to attend classes and will incur an unexcused absence.

McGee disputes those policies, saying school leaders never had an issue with the color of Hayleigh Black's hair until now.

"Whether people thinks it's bright or not, her hair was that same color for the last three years," McGee said. "Now before she even goes to her first day of school it's an issue. They just want to be treated fairly; that's all this is about, and letting Hayleigh be the child, the person she is."

McGee said Black's grandmother served on the Muscle Shoals City School Board for more than 10 years. He said her family is well versed in student policies and respects the educational process.

"Pam wouldn't allow her granddaughter... and I don't think Pam's daughter, Hayleigh's mom, would allow anything that was a violation or a disruption or a distraction to the educational process," said McGee.

McGee is requesting the absence be expunged from Black's record and that they allow her to change her hair color back to red. If they can't come to an agreement, McGee said they've discussed steps to proceed with a federal lawsuit.

Superintendent Brian Lindsey said at this time he cannot comment on the situation, but said they've received the letters and have sent them to the school board's attorney in Huntsville. Attorney Taylor Brooks said they are currently reviewing the letters. 

Copyright 2014 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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