A student from Gulfport, Mississippi, was suspended from school for showing up with pink hair.
Timothy Jenkins spoke to WLOX about his suspension, saying he felt the school's dress code prohibiting certain hair colors was unfair.
"About two weeks ago, I dyed my hair pink," the high school freshman said. The school gave him multiple warnings that he would need to change his hair color back to his natural black, but he persisted and was ultimately suspended.
"It was a distraction to other students, and they didn't want pink hair being one of the things that represents their school," he explained. The district's handbook states that students' hair should be clean, neat and a color that appeared natural.
Jenkins said he feels the hair policy is unfair, and started a petition among students to take that restriction out of the dress code.
"The majority of all students have told me my hair hasn't been a distraction at all," he said.
His mother, Sheryl, said she's seen other students with colored hair and claimed that they were not asked to change it.
"As soon as he dyed his hair pink, it was like all of a sudden they started cracking down on all the kids," she said, adding that she has no problem with her son's hair color.
"Their reasoning for him having natural colored hair is to me an infringement on not only his rights, but my rights as a parent to decide for my child what's best for them," she said.
The Gulfport School District released a statement, clarifying its position on the matter.
"The Gulfport School District has a policy that requires students' hair to be clean, neat, and a natural-looking color," the statement read. "The policies of the Gulfport School District are handled in an openly vetted process that includes business leaders, parents, students, and educators. Action Teams review the polices of the Gulfport School District annually and provide guidance for policies that govern our school district."
In a similar incident in Orlando, Florida, a 12-year-old said she was almost expelled because administrators felt as though her hair needed to be cut and shaped.
"It says that I'm unique," Vanessa VanDyke told WKMG of her hair. "First of all, it's puffy and I like it that way. I know people will tease me about it because it's not straight. I don't fit in."
The school ultimately decided not to expel VanDyke, who is African American, for her haircut.