Muscle Shoals student sent home for 'distracting hair color'

Published: Aug. 7, 2014 at 7:13 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 4, 2014 at 7:14 PM CDT
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Hayleigh says she has used the same shade of dye for three years without issue. (Source: WAFF)
Hayleigh says she has used the same shade of dye for three years without issue. (Source: WAFF)

MUSCLE SHOALS, AL (WAFF) - A Muscle Shoals student said she didn't even make it to her homeroom class on the first day of school.

The reason: her hair color was deemed "too distracting."

Hayleigh Black, 16, said she has been dyeing her hair the same red hue for the last three years.

"I have never had anybody come up to me and say, 'Maybe you shouldn't have this color,' or, 'Do you think that's a bad color,'" Hayleigh said.

Her mother said she was shocked to get a phone call to come pick her up - less than 30 minutes after dropping her off on the first day of school.

"Nothing was ever said last year," said Kim Boyd. "Never got any calls, never sent home, anything saying it had to be changed up until today."

Hayleigh is an A and B student, a member of the marching band, and has even represented her school on various events in and out of state, all while donning her red hair.

"I understand sending kids home for pink or purple or the blue, but Hayleigh is red, and he (the principal) argued it was not a natural shade of red," said Boyd.

According to the student code of conduct book, it is up to the discretion of the principal or assistant principal to determine disciplinary actions pertaining to "disruptive hair style or color."

"He said he had already sent home two other ones for that problem, even though theirs were pink and orange, and not any shade of red. He said he had to be consistent; she would have to get rid of the red or go to a darker red," Boyd said.

Hayleigh's mother said she has already made contact with the district office. She addressed her concerns with the assistant superintendent, and was told to meet with the superintendent. Both officials have served as previous administrators to Hayleigh when she first dyed her hair.

"I don't really know what to do because I've had this color for three years, so I feel like it's part of me," Hayleigh said.

Muscle Shoals City Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Lindsey, responded to the story, saying he supports the decision.

"The dress code section of the Muscle Shoals High School Student Handbook states, 'Students will not be allowed to attend classes if their attire includes the following:' Item #6 specifies, 'Hair which has been dyed a bright or distractive color. Dyed hair will be permitted only if the hair is dyed a natural human color,'" said Lindsey.

"There were four students in violation of item #6 who were sent home today by high school administration. I support the decision of the high school administrators and appreciate the cooperation of the students and parents involved concerning this issue," he said.

Dr. Lindsey said he met with Hayleigh's mother Thursday, and they have agreed to disagree on the issue. Hayleigh said she will change her hair color so she won't miss any more class time.

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