A third-grade student felt "singled out" when she was barred from participating in her school's picture day because of her hairstyle, her family says.
Doug Scott, the father of 8-year-old Marian, told WILX his daughter was denied her annual school photos at Paragon Charter Academy in Jackson, Mich., because of the red hair extensions in his child's braids.
Scott called the school's decision "upsetting," and said it brought Marian to tears.
"All of this is uncalled for, they didn't even call us," he told the station. "Marian didn't leave the house, go on the street and get this done on her own, no — she's eight years old, we did this ourselves in our own home and there's no way I felt like this would happen."
The school's handbook clearly states that students' hair must be "of natural tones" in order to be in line with the dress code. "Hairstyles must be conservative," it reads, and "extreme hairstyles are not permitted." The school cites "designs shaved in the hair, shaved heads, Mohawks, mullets" and "Princetons" as examples of banned hairstyles.
"Interpretation of the Dress Code is at the principal and staff’s discretion and their decision is final," the handbook adds.
The school also reportedly sent out a message reminding parents of the policy the Sunday before picture day. However, Scott claims he never received the warning and insists he would have changed his daughter's hairstyle if he knew it would be an issue.
Marian was allowed to rejoin class after she was denied her photos, as school policy allows students with a hair color or style violation one week to correct the problem before disciplinary action is taken, Ben Kriesch, principal of Paragon Charter Academy, told WILX.
Marian's parents sent her back to class Monday with all black hair and say they plan to have her school photos taken on re-take day on November 12.