HUMOR – Hurricane Middle School student Rylee MacKay caused quite a kerfuffle recently by dying her hair a subversive shade of reddish-brown. Rylee was kicked out of school for dying her hair a color that, in the opinion of school administrators, was not in keeping with school district policy.
According to my sources – gossip overheard while sitting under the dryer at the hair salon – Rylee had been dying her hair the same shade of reddish-brown since September, but only recently did it stick in the craw of school administrators. She was asked to leave school and not return until her hair color was changed to something a little more “natural” and perhaps a little less “Lucille Ball.”
After an extra-long weekend of washing her hair daily and doing absolutely nothing else to adjust her hair color, Rylee returned to school on Monday. Her hair color was deemed acceptable by school administrators and she returned to class.
This series of events may seem egregious to those who are unfamiliar with the district dress code which explicitly states:
“Extreme hairstyles are prohibited. Hair color should be within the spectrum of color that hair grows naturally.”
It may also seem egregious to those who have not read Washington County School District’s recent statement in defense of their dress code:
“While this policy may seem restrictive, it does establish a behavioral expectation. When expectations are established and enforced for seemingly small things it provides for a school culture where more egregious offenses are less likely to occur.”
In short, removing Rylee from school for dying her hair the extreme and unnatural shade of reddish-brown is a classic case of preemptive egregious offense. Hurricane Middle School administrators were egregiously offensive before Rylee had a chance to be. Well played, Washington County School District.
Perhaps there are pertinent details relating to Rylee’s story that might make these events more understandable. Maybe she is one of those rabble-rousing, spit wad-throwing students and her reddish hair was the final straw. Maybe her hair was a genuine distraction. Maybe she just caught her principal on a bad day. Or perhaps the district dress code is purposely vague to provide for selective enforcement of the rules. There is always more to the story.
Sure, wearing a knee-length smock and keeping one’s hair within the natural spectrum of colors may inexplicably improve school culture. I get that. I am in favor of a dress code. I am not in favor of a dress code that is ambiguous to the point that students who have even the slightest desire for self-expression run the risk of getting kicked out of school at the whim of the administration.
My advice to the students of Washington County School District: Make friends with your principal. Bring her a Diet Coke. Follow the rules. If you fly under the radar for long enough maybe you can dye your hair a wild shade of light brown when you are in college.
Elise Haynes chronicles family life in her blog Haynes Family Yard Sale. Any opinions stated in this column are her own and not necessarily those of St. George News.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.