Tuesday, September 13, 2005

 

Honor students sent home after dying hair


Thanks to Alex for the heads-up!



WAUKOMIS, Oklahoma -- Three honor students who say they have never been disciplined before were sent home from school Thursday for dying their hair.

The girls -- all freshmen and all straight-A students -- said they were not warned before being told they would not be allowed back in class until they changed their hair color. The absence is considered unexcused, according to a discipline report given to the students, which means they will not be allowed to make up any tests or assignments they missed, they said.

Lyndsay Burton, Jherika Bryant and Amanda Boese were dismissed from school by Principal Janet Blocker not long after they arrived Thursday morning, with purple, blue and red hair, respectively.

"They could have called me and I would have talked to her," said Charles Burton, Lyndsay's father.

Boese dyed her hair red last Thursday and spent two full days in classes before being told to leave.

"She (Blocker) just said my hair was fluorescent and unacceptable to be in school," Boese said. "They told me I can't come back to school until my hair is changed."

Blocker did not return a phone message Thursday seeking comment. Superintendent Dwain Jindra said he wasn't familiar with the situation with the students but school policy states a student's appearance cannot be disruptive to learning and hair cannot be dyed a fluorescent color.

"I don't think it's right," said Alvin Boese. "It looks like her education would be more important than her hair color."

The students dispute their hair color was fluorescent. Their parents are more concerned about the lack of a warning before they were sent home from school.

"They didn't warn her or anything," Boese said. "If they would have asked, she would have changed. This isn't right."

Consequences if students violate school policy include a warning and parent notification before suspension, according to a student handbook. Although students were told they were not officially suspended from class, they received a student discipline form citing the reason for dismissal and when they could return.

One unexcused absence makes students ineligible for semester test exemption, Amanda Boese said.

Burton was dismissed at about 8:20 a.m., traveled to Enid, colored her hair and was back to class by lunch, but not before missing a test. Boese and Bryant were planning on changing their hair and going back to school today. Besides their honor student status, Boese is president and Bryant is vice president of their freshman class.

"How odd it's three honor students that are in trouble for being rebellious," Charles Burton said.

Bettina Bryant said the girls just wanted to express their individuality. Ironically, she said Jherika just the night before had resigned herself to the idea of changing her hair color back.

"I can understand the school's point of view," Bryant said. "They could have handled it differently. It's not like they're doing drugs and sneaking out. She's a good kid. I thought it was kind of harsh."

When asked what would happen if administrators realized they made an error in the discipline process, Jindra said: "We will check into it."

Alvin Boese tried to talk to Jindra shortly before Thursday night's board of education meeting. Boese said he was ushered out of the meeting, and the door was shut behind him.


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