This teen was really suspended for having “Ronald McDonald” hair

As of late, there’s been a lot of attention called to sometimes unfair, sometimes sexist, sometimes straight-up-confusing school dress codes. Back in September, we saw what happened when a male student was punished for wearing earrings —even though female students at the same school were allowed to. Last spring, we were baffled when this student was shamed for wearing a gorgeous red gown to prom. And now, once again, we’re scratching our heads as to why this high-schooler would get into trouble for…dyeing her hair red.

Sarah Bonacci, who attends Emerson Alternative High School in Oklahoma City, dyed her hair a nice fall burgundy color earlier this week —and she couldn’t wait to show her friends the next day at school on Monday. Only, she never got the chance —she wasn’t even allowed inside the building because of the red-tinted hair color.

“They told her to leave because her hair color was not a natural color,” Sarah’s mom Vanessa Tucker told News Channel Four. “She’s not allowed to wear red-colored hair to school.”

Emerson has a dress code banning hair colors like red, blue, pink, purple—anything unnaturally bright. Her hair was immediately deemed a distraction—and she missed three days of class because of it. Tucker immediately contacted school administrators to get to the bottom of things.

“When I called this morning and asked if she could come to school, he told me she was not allowed on school property with her hair the color it is,” Tucker continued. “He told me that he would go around to her teachers and tell them she is not allowed to get her school work until she gets her hair changed.” So, not only was Sarah suspended, but she couldn’t even collect her assignments.

“I don’t think the color of a person’s hair should matter whether they are able to get their education or not,” Tucker said. “I could understand if it were blue or green but it’s red, more like burgundy, not like Ronald McDonald, how he referred to it.”

Basically, school officials are insisting that Sarah dye her hair back. They also (unhelpfully) offered that she could return in six months when she could color her hair back, or that she could wear a wig.  As of right now, the issue is unresolved, and the school gave News 9 a vague statement concerning the dress code policy —and whether it will be looked into.

“The district has conducted a preliminary investigation into the incident and determined that Emerson’s policy regarding dyed hair will be administratively reviewed,” an Oklahoma City Schools spokesperson told News 9.

It’s unclear as to why missing so much school is the correct kind of response here. It seems counterintuitive and damaging to take away student’s education due to the color of her hair —which doesn’t even seem to be breaking any rules (and yes it is red, but it appears to be a more natural shade of red). If a student were to dye their hair black, or blonde, or even auburn —would they get the same response from this school?

“I’m very upset. I was actually in tears earlier,” Tucker said. “I just want her to be able to graduate this year and get her education, that she deserves.”

Featured image via Twitter

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