The deplorable “Kick a Ginger Day”, popularized by the show South Park, took place last week.
One red-haired boy from the United Kingdom town of Cumbria skipped school one day and left school early the next due to bullying over his hair color. Another boy from Ottowa, Canada stayed home as well after begging his mother not to make him go to school on the designated day.
"My son was beside himself," said Juanita McNairn, the student’s mother. "He was delaying getting out of bed and when it came down to the crunch he just burst into tears and told me about the whole ginger thing."
Today, the father of a redheaded girl whom committed suicide in January spoke out about the problem of ginger bullying.
“People need to realize that when they say the things they do, it can have deeply traumatizing effects and can lead to self-harm and suicide,” Enda Farrell said.
His daughter Helena was 15 in January when she died of an apparent suicide. She was a talented musician and singer before her death.
“Helena's death was not just because of it, but the bullying she faced all her life certainly contributed,” he said.
Farrell now wants Cumbria police to recognize hair color as a motivation for a hate crime. Cumbria police department hate crime manager Mike Wallace says the department is aware of ginger bullying concerns but has no plans to amend their hate crime policy at this time.
“We take a strong stance on any form of bullying,” Wallace said. “Just because something is not categorized as a hate crime we would still expect the same quality of investigation. If someone is being bullied because of their appearance I would want it investigated properly and I would urge them to contact us. It would be classed as an aggravating feature in a case.”