A Michigan third grader was reduced to tears after her parents say she was barred from taking school photos because of her red hair.
Marian Scott, 8, arrived to Paragon Charter Academy in Jackson for picture day this week only to be sent back to class, local station WILX reported. Her red braids, fashioned into a bright bun on her head, apparently violated the the school’s picture day policy.
The girl’s father, Doug Scott, expressed outrage over the incident.
“Marian didn’t leave out the house, go down the street, and go get this done on her own,” Scott told the outlet. “She’s 8 years old. We did this ourselves in our home, and there’s no way I felt like this would happen.”
“It’s upsetting you know,” he added, through tears.
The charter school, located about 90 miles outside Detroit, has a stringent grooming policy outlined in its student handbook, which explicitly states that a students’ hair color must be in “natural tones” to have their picture taken. Moreover, the dress code says “extreme hairstyles” aren’t allowed, and that hairdos should be more conservative.
What isn’t clear, however, is the course of action if student shows up to school with colored hair. Marian was told she could not take her picture, but was allowed to return to class.
Her father was confused by it all, asking: “If she’s not a disruption to the class, then why is she a disruption to the picture?”
According to WILX, Paragon Charter officials sent out a recorded message the Sunday before picture day reminding parents of the dress code. Doug Scott said he never received the announcement, however.
“Had I seen the email, I probably would have told Marian’s mother to not do it,” he said. “But I guess I think it’s good this happened because now people are going to get the opportunity to see what is really going on.”
The school has defended its decision to block the 8-year-old from getting her picture taken and said it takes “great care to ensure our families are well-informed about this policy, and also work closely with students and their parents if there’s a concern.”
Principal Ben Kriesch said students with a hair violation are given a week to get it corrected, which is why Marian was allowed back in class.
The incident is just the latest in recent cases of Black children being policed over their hair. Last year, a Louisiana teen was booted from her Christian school over her “unnatural” braided hairstyle. Twin sisters at a school in Massachusetts were similarly punished in 2017 after they refused to take down their braided extensions.
Marian returned to school Monday, this time with all-black hair. The family plans to have her photo re-taken Nov. 12
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