A Georgia Honor Roll student has started a petition after she faced suspension for her "distracting" and “unusual hair color.”
Jaida Henley, a straight-A student at Mason Creek Middle School in Douglasville, Georgia, said she was called into the principal’s office when she showed up at school with her hair dyed red. She was asked if she had a plan to change her hair color, which she did not.
The Douglas County School District’s dress code includes a clause preventing “unnatural colored hair or any hairstyle which causes a distraction to the learning environment," according to 11Alive.
Jaida and a friend started a Change.org petition, which she plans to present at a school board meeting on April 11, disputing the rule and requesting that it be removed from the dress code.
“We are all at an awkward age right now,” Jaida wrote in the petition. “Some kids are going through rough things at this time. Little things like dying their hair can make them happy. Having an unnatural hair color doesn't really distract anyone from learning. Windows distract students more than hair color does.”
As of March 30, 181 people have signed the petition. The petition's goal is 200 signatures.
Despite the effort from students, the school district said they will not change their policy.
“In the final analysis, the Principal has the right to interpret that which negates a reasonable standard of conduct and appearance,” the district said in a statement to 11Alive.
Principal Eric Collins of Mason Creek Middle School said the policy has been in effect since 2011. He added that the parents of students with unnatural hair at the school “were contacted and all indicated full support of following the school policy.”
Jaida said no matter the outcome of her petition effort, she is willing to face the consequences of having her hair the color she wants it to be.