High school student sent home because of her ‘non-natural hair color’

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- A high school student in St. Louis was sent home because her hair was "not a natural color" and violated the school's dress code.

Savannah Keesee, a junior at West County High School in St. Francois County, spent Tuesday at home in Irondale because of her hair color.

“She just wanted it a little bit different. We had a bunch of snow days, and did some girl stuff and dyed her hair,” Savannah’s mother, Sheri Keesee, told KTVI.

The permanent auburn dye turned Savannah’s natural red hair a little brighter than expected, but Savannah says she didn’t expect the principal to object.

“He goes, 'Your hair is really bright.' I said, ok, he goes, 'You need to call your mom and have her come pick you up,'” Savannah recalled. “I tried to go back today and he said I couldn’t stay because my hair was still the same color.”

Savannah was told her hair violates the school’s dress and grooming code.  According to the school handbook, “Non-natural hair colors will not be permitted. For example, green, purple, blue, etc.”

Savannah's mother insists she dyed it auburn.

"Auburn to me is natural, just like strawberry blonde or blonde, or black or brown,” Sheri Keesee said.

West St. Francois County Superintendent Stacy Stevens declined to comment on Savannah's situation, but he said the hair color policy has been in place for decades.

“We try to work with the students to be fair," Stevens said. "We don’t want them out of school, we don’t typically have issues with this policy. I think our students and parents are accepting of it. It’s been in place a long time, and I think it’s a policy that works."

Savannah hopes the school district will work with her, especially since the dye will probably dull over time.

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31 comments

  • kit

    Had this student been black, the district would be labeled as “racist” for sending the kid home and there would be a lawsuit.

  • Kenneth Briggs

    so take the big boy to court and sue him . his butt knows that it will grow out in a few weeks , a few of the other girs should all show up one day with darker hair or lighter hair , then what is he going to do , he can not send everyone home .

  • BearTex3

    If I was part of that student body, I would set up a protest to that policy by getting all my classmates to dye their hair and come to school. Are they going to suspend the whole school. If they do are they going to keep the teachers there to get paid? HMMM. I am all for dress code policies, God knows there needs to be especially with the way kids are allowed to dress now days. They dress sometimes in as little as legally possible and some very revealing clothing, but there is nothing wrong with this girls hair. Sometimes the hair dye just dont do what you want it to do and in the end you either have to redye it which can be bad for your hair or let it grow out, which does not really take that long. This school just has to be right all the time it appears.

  • cw

    How about the girl change her hair to an appropriate color. Why should rules change becouse people are to ignorant to follow them. Where would you draw the line.

      • Wally

        Not if it violates a policy. If you do not like policy/law you need to challenge it and maybe it will change, but as long as something is policy you do not have the right to break policy and expect everything to be OK. I am all for equal rights and fairness. The principal said “It’s been in place a long time, and I think it’s a policy that works.” Maybe they need to revisit that and change/adapt to more modern societies. That still doesn’t give the girl a right to break the policy until is has been changed.

        • Tabitha

          Since this is a public school they have no right to discriminate based on hair color. If this were a private school then this rule would be understandable since you PAY to go there.
          This seems more like a bullying situation. And this is why people bully, because it is labeled as not normal and in turn, a bigger issue is made, which enables kids to think it is okay to exclude or be mean to someone who wants to be a little different.

      • Watcher

        Nothing on the planet guarantees you a right to hair color. Many schools, and many jobs including the military have a natural hair color rule. All she had to do was dye it back.

  • Tract

    It is hair color that is really has no affect on anyone. If it were clothes that is where a line should be drawn. Why don’t we squelch all personalities and creativity in the world!! Jeesh!

  • Amy

    Students should be allowed to express themselves in healthy ways, like experimenting with haircuts and hair color. However, this girls hair looks like a normal hair shade and not a color that is unnatural.

  • Lawrence Beerbower

    It may be school policy ect, ect, ect. But this is clearly a judgment call from the principal as to what is considered natural colored hair.
    This particular policy since it is a school ran by public funds violates US Constitution. The Rgith to freedom of expression and personal choice.
    Regardless if a policy has been in place for years does not make it correct legally.
    I do not see her hair color as distracting to other students and thus she should be allowed to continue her education.
    Also they are legally obliged by Federal regulations to ensure her on going education.
    Their job is to educate not be fashion police.

    • Bobby

      Lawrence Beerbower hacked up a fur ball and said: “This particular policy since it is a school ran by public funds violates US Constitution. The Rgith to freedom of expression and personal choice.”

      So if she decided to dye her hair blue with green / orange highlights, wear a see-through blouse with no bra and really short shorts that had the bottom half of her butt cheeks hanging out, you’d be ok with that because it’s her “right to freedom of expression and personal choice.”?

  • Brie

    What happened to self-expression? Free speech? I call bull shit and would be fighting to get back in. Such bull crap. Way to go St. Louis.

    • Bobby

      BRIE hacked up a fur ball and said: “What happened to self-expression? Free speech?”

      My response to you is the same as it is to Lawrence Beerbower.

      So if she decided to dye her hair blue with green / orange highlights, wear a see-through blouse with no bra and really short shorts that had the bottom half of her butt cheeks hanging out, you’d be ok with that because it’s her right to “self-expression? Free speech?”

      • guitarted1

        Your argument is foolish. This is about hair color and not any nonexistent see through clothing that you are imagining.

  • Margie U

    Leave the hair color alone. Keep the rules for hair style to avoid the mohawks and things. It isn’t a Catholic school, it is a public school. As long as they are learning and participating then what the hell is an odd hair color! Talk about taking personality and any free-thinking there may be from kids. Why? So they can grow to be boring, in-line, monotonous adults like the ones on the school board or running the school? Knock out the rule about hair color as a test run and see what happens. If it gets out hand

      • Geri

        It’s not about personality. I’m pretty sure it’s about distraction but that was then, this is now and I don’t think much distracts or shocks our kids anymore!

        It’s the stiff necks running that school. They need to loosen up!

  • Geri

    If in this world we live in today, that policy had been in effect “for decades,” perhaps they’re do for a change. Nothing is as it once was in 1940, ’50 nor 1960!

    Time to reexamine those policies, update and/or modify!

  • Resident

    Wow, I am glad academics don’t have anything more pressing to worry about than come up with ways to violate the constitution.

  • Jennifer

    Natural red heads are out in this world! So it’s not technically an unnatural hair color. I’m sure if she was a bright blonde who is naturally a brunette she would’ve been sent home.

  • kris

    I could see if the girl was in elementary school…maybe middle school…but high school??? That’s a bit extreme. That she is a good student is what they should be focused on. My daughter has had every color of hair in the rainbow and some twice, and it has never been a here. Maybe because she’s a good student or because the school district’s here know that there are bigger things to be worried about than the color of a student’s hair.

  • Glen

    “but he said the hair color policy has been in place for decades.” Enough said. If it has been in place for decades, in which decade did it start, the forties, fifties maybe??? Dont get me wrong, there are maybe some cases where it might go overboard, but this is not one of them.

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