A natural redhead was barred from going to class after school officials told her that her hair color was “too ginger.”
A star student, 17-year-old Emily Reay has natural auburn hair and maintained that she’s had the same red hair color for three years. According to Reay, she was told by teachers at Trinity School in Carlisle, Cumbria, – on the first day back to school from Easter break – that she would not be allowed in class unless she changes the color of her hair to something less bright.
“I was very angry at first, and then burst into tears. I've had the same colour [sic] for the past three years, and nobody at school has commented on it,” she said. “Everybody knows me as that ‘young ginger singer’. For me it is a confidence thing. If I had to dye my hair brown, I would lose this.
“I had to dye my hair to a more natural colour [sic], or tone it down considerably,” she continued. “I offered to pin it up, or wear a beanie hat, but I was told 'no' to both. I was told my hair had been a bone of contention since the beginning of the school year but they had let it slip up until now. But the laughable thing is my hair was brighter than this on prom night and I won best hairstyle award.”
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Reay’s parents, Julie and Andy, reportedly met with the school to discuss the matter, but the school held firm on their decision to ban the teen from class unless she changed her hair color.
“They had her in tears. They do not realise [sic] what her hair means to her,” Julie said. “The irony is she is playing Scaramouche in the school's adaptation of We Will Rock You, which is about society suppressing people's creativity and self-expression. The school's uniform policy clearly states no unnatural hair colours [sic], like blue or green. But is ginger not a natural hair colour [sic]?”
Determined to continue her education, Reay said she plans to return to school with her hair pinned in the hopes that “nothing is said.”
Reay’s headteacher, Andrew Winter, responded to the controversy and maintained that Reay had violated the school’s dress code.
“Trinity School sixth-form students are role models for the rest of the school. We have a policy of maintaining high standards,” Winter said. “All sixth form students are issued with information about what is acceptable or unacceptable at the start of the academic year. The vast majority of parents are very keen on our high standards.”
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