Hayleigh Black was all ready to start the new school year in her homeroom class last week. But before she could even get there, the 16-year-old high school student was told to go home -- all because of her "distracting" hair color.
According to WAFF-TV, school officials at Muscle Shoals High School in Alabama told Black, whose hair is dyed red, that she wouldn't be able to attend classes unless her hair was of a more "natural" shade.
But Black says she was baffled by the sudden censure, since her hair has been the same shade of red for three years and no one has said anything about it until now.
Muscle Shoals City Schools Superintendent Brian Lindsey told the news outlet that he supports the school's decision to send Black home."The dress code section of the Muscle Shoals High School Student Handbook states, 'Students will not be allowed to attend classes if their…[hair] has been dyed a bright or distractive color.'"
Black has reportedly managed to strip her hair of some of the red dye and has been allowed back in school, but her family says the whole ordeal took a toll on the teen.
"She's been very humiliated. It's been embarrassing. It's been unwanted attention," the family's attorney, Jon McGee, told WZDX-TV. "Her self esteem has taken a hit."
Black's family says that the school chose to mark the teen as absent on her first day, but with their attorney's help, they're hoping to get the school to reconsider that decision.
This isn't the first time in the past year that a school has come under fire for its hair-related rules. In November, a school in Florida made headlines when it allegedly threatened to expel a student if she refused to cut or straighten her naturally curly hair, which had been deemed a "distraction." After swift backlash, however, the school retracted its original warning and said the girl could stay in school if she "style[d] her hair within the guidelines according to the school handbook," per WKMG-TV.