School Criticized for Demanding Teen Dye Her Hair Back to Natural Color

A parent has been praised for refusing to dye their teenage daughter's hair back to its original color for school, amid complaints from the teachers.

They shared their dilemma to Reddit's Am I The A**hole forum on Sunday, but have since deleted their account.

Despite that, their post has sparked an intense debate and can be read here, racking up more than 22,000 upvotes.

They explained their 15-year-old daughter has black hair naturally, but she dyed it "dark reddish brown" for her birthday.

File photo of teenage girl.
File photo of a teenage girl. A school has been criticized for asking a teen to dye her hair back to its original color. RobertoDavid/Getty Images

It was a milestone, with the girl's parent only allowing her to experiment with color once she was in high school.

The Redditor admitted they didn't think it would be a problem, saying: "The school has a dress code for hair that just specified 'natural hair colors only'.

"Which I took to mean browns, blondes, reds, black etc basically natural tones. Her natural hair is black but I don't think it's much of a change."

But they claimed at the start of term, their daughter's teacher claimed her hair didn't comply with the school's dress code.

While it's not clear where the poster and their daughter are based, dress codes in schools vary across the U.S. depending on what state, or school, a student is in.

Website K-12 Academies summed up the nationwide consensus, confirming "dress codes vary from school to school," saying: "Most schools in the United States do not require uniforms, but instead enforce a standardized dress code of what types of clothing are appropriate for students to wear to school."

The school has a dress code for hair that just specified 'natural hair colors only'."
Parent

They explained this typically includes banning "overly revealing clothing," excessively baggy or tight clothing, metal chains, most body piercings and tattoos, as well explicit clothing, including contains profanities, references to drugs, alcohol, gang signs or sex.

They added: "Most standardized school dress codes prohibit certain types and styles of clothing based on modesty, safety, and what is generally considered appropriate in an academic setting. But as long as a student's attire conforms to an individual school's dress code, they are permitted to wear whatever they wish."

But the parent claimed the natural hair color allegedly fell afoul of the school's dress code, saying: "I said her hair color grew out of people's heads so why was it out of dress code?

"She told me it was clearly not her natural color and I shot back tons of her students that I saw that evening had blonde hair and highlights when they clearly natural brunettes.

"She claimed they look like they could be blonde but my daughter's hair was suppose to be black. My daughter is Asian so it's pretty racist to say she can't dye her hair and I brought it up with the principle [principal] but he agreed with her saying it was against dress code."

They stood their ground as they claimed lots of students had dyed hair, with the issue now a long-running thorn between them and the school. As the new term loomed, they voiced fears over the drama rearing its head again.

"It's almost the start of school again and I get an email from the principle [principal] reminding me my daughter is only allowed black hair. She still has her reddish brown hair and doesn't want to dye it back.

"But I've tried to fight it and the last thing to do is to barge into the superintendents office and demand she get involved," they added.

Middle Tennessee State University's (MTSU) First Amendment Encyclopedia outlined cases in history when dress codes have been challenged, and upheld.

They noted: "Provided that the dress code is written clearly, is not excessive or onerous, is applied in a consistent fashion, and does not obviously discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, and perhaps ethnicity, the code is constitutional and does not violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1965."

Numerous people bashed the school's stance in the comments, as Very_busy_newt wrote: "Agreed. This sounds like the rule is basically basically that you must have a haircolor consistent with your racial profile... Which should be obviously not okay."

Chart1961 said: "Definitely time for a lawyer."

Duckalono said: "This! Because they are singling your daughter out & being blatantly racist. The school superintendent has had plenty time to address this, there is no reason at all for any of it. Please update us on how things go. NTA!!!!"

Newsweek could not verify the details of the case.

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