The parents of 12-year-old Brianna Moore were happy. The grade six student not only increased her grades but made the honour roll for the first time. As promised, she was allowed to dye her hair pink as a reward.
Brianna dyed her hair last Wednesday. But when she entered Shue-Medill Middle School in Newark the next day, she was immediately suspended. Brianna was quoted by Fox 29
in Philadelphia as saying,
I wasn't even in my class. I didn't make it to my locker. I didn't even make it up the ramp to my locker.
Last year, when Brianna was a Grade 5 student at Marshall Elementary School her parents made the same promise to her; if she raised her grades, she could dye her hair pink. She did and went to school with pink hair without incident.
Of the four middle schools in Delaware's Christina School District, only Shue-Medill has the policy that led to Brianna's suspension. Excessive hair colouring, ie. blue, green, or pink is not allowed. Only natural hair colours are. Although Brianna could have streaked her hair with every natural colour and remained in class, she could not attend school with pink hair. The policy only came into effect at the school last August.
Brianna was given three options. She could dye her hair a natural colour, transfer to another school or remain suspended.
Brianna's father, Kevin, was not impressed. He was quoted by WLTX-TV
I don't think you should be allowed to tell me - as a parent - what color my daughter's hair should be.
You'd think they'd be worrying about test scores, not this. It doesn't make sense that they're digging in their heels over this.
Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) got involved and correspondence between the school district's attorney and an attorney for the ACLU took place. Christina School District lawyer, James McMacklin, sent an email to ACLU attorney Richard Morse. As reported by USA Today
, the email read in part,
She's not going to be suspended tomorrow, next week, next month, etc., for pink hair. District policy does not apply with regard to the hairstyle at issue.
In view of the fact that the prohibition against pink hair appears to be unconstitutional, the policy is being reviewed.