In many ways Hayleigh Black is your typical all-American high school girl.
The 16-year-old gets A’s and B’s in her classes, is a member of the marching band, and has represented her school at a number of events in and out of state, WAFF-TV in Huntsville, Alabama, reported.
But what’s apparently set Hayleigh apart in the eyes of administrators at Muscle Shoals High School is her dyed red hair — long locks she’s been coloring the same way for the last three years.
“I have never had anybody come up to me and say, ‘Maybe you shouldn’t have this color,’ or, ‘Do you think that’s a bad color,'” Hayleigh told WAFF.
But that’s exactly what went down her very first day of school this year — she didn’t even make it to homeroom, the station reported.
Kim Boyd, Hayleigh’s mother, said she got the shocking phone to pick her up less than 30 minutes after dropping her off — because of how Hayleigh dyed her hair.
“Nothing was ever said last year,” Boyd told WAFF. “Never got any calls, never sent home, anything saying it had to be changed up until today.”
The school’s student code of conduct notes that the principal or assistant principal can level disciplinary actions in regard to “disruptive hair style or color,” WAFF said.
“I understand sending kids home for pink or purple or the blue, but Hayleigh is red, and [the principal] argued it was not a natural shade of red,” Boyd added to the station.
It seems Hayleigh’s wasn’t the only case of “disruptive” hair — Boyd noted to WAFF that at least two other students were sent home for their troublemaking hues as well (although theirs were pink and orange, she said).
“He said he had to be consistent,” Boyd told WAFF, noting the principal’s suggested solutions were to “get rid of the red or go to a darker red.”
The principal and assistant principal were administrators to Hayleigh when she first dyed her hair three years ago, WAFF added.
Boyd took up the matter with Muscle Shoals City Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Lindsey, but he was unmoved.
“The dress code section of the Muscle Shoals High School Student Handbook states, ‘Students will not be allowed to attend classes if their attire includes the following:’ Item #6 specifies, ‘Hair which has been dyed a bright or distractive color. Dyed hair will be permitted only if the hair is dyed a natural human color,'” Lindsey noted to WAFF, adding that he supports the decision of the high school administrators.
While Hayleigh told the station, “I don’t really know what to do because I’ve had this color for three years, so I feel like it’s part of me,” she did note that she’d change it so can go back to classes.