In the most foolheaded story of the year, a 15-year-old girl in Hurricane, UT is banned from school until she dyes her hair back to a "natural" color. Yes, this is something that is happening in the year 2013 because the robots won and the matrix is real. Honestly, if middle school girls can't dye their hair, we should just blow up the United States. Middle school is a mind-numbing hell hole, and whatever young ladies can do to hold onto their sanity during this difficult time — I painted my nails with white out and wrote comedy shorts for school assemblies — is worth it. At the end of the day, one of the ways kids figure out who they are is by experimenting with all sorts of stuff, and that includes dyeing their hair and penning terrible sketch comedy. If you take away these ways to express their individuality, you risk damaging their fragile psyches. And that fucking sucks.
OK, a story of a girl getting banned from school because of the color of her hair is so ridiculous that it would be the most hilarious if it weren't actually happening. But it gets even more bizarre. I know.
The girl, Rylee MacKay, wasn't kicked out for dyeing her hair a Manic Panic-shade of Pepto pink or Gak green; she was kicked out because she colored it this subtle shade. Yes, a reddish-brown that you wouldn't look twice at walking down the street is apparently so distracting that the principal's best course of action was to ban the girl from school until she dyed it back.
The school claims Rylee's hair "didn't fit on the spectrum of natural color," which is absolutely insane. It's not like it matters — kids should be able to dye their hair whatever fucking color they want — but this is arbitrary and gratuitous. It's so batshit that one might question what sort of weird stuff is going on in the principal's brain if he's putting a young lady's studies on hold over her hair color. Did Rylee's mom say no when he asked her to the prom in '78? Did a box of hair dye kill his dad? Or is he just a sad person who likes to exert what little power he has over kids?
Rylee's mom, Amy, said she and Rylee even talked to their hairdresser about the school rules, and decided to tone down the original brighter red color Rylee wanted. When the principal called Amy and told her to come pick up her daughter, the woman was taken aback. She asked that they at least have a couple of days to make a hair appointment, but the principal wanted them to go to Walgreen's and do a home dye job. Amy was all "Hold my earrings, Rylee; mama's gotta TCB."
Well, not exactly. But still:
"I absolutely am not going to dye it brown. That is not an option," Amy said. "My daughter feels beautiful with the red hair. Changing her hair really changed her; she really blossomed."
Who else wants to hug Amy MacKay? She's looking out for her daughter during a really difficult time. Also, she's beyond reasonable with an entirely unreasonable system.
After some back and forth, the school finally offered to let Rylee stay through the end of the week, provided she not stray from a room off the main office. Amy said that wouldn't fly. She got to the heart of the issue:
"I think there are way more pressing issues in this school. At this age, these kids are going through so much with peer pressure and trying to find themselves - look at the depression and teen suicide rates - and all we're doing is stifling them more," she said. "They have no leeway in how to become themselves. We don't let them do a lot of things for their own safety, but there's got to be some give. We're making little clones."
As we've talked about before, middle school is the god awful worst. It's a time of major change for kids; they're figuring out large parts of who they'll become. If they're not allowed to listen to terrible music and wear two-toned giant jeans, how are they supposed to become who they are?