9th grader Rylee MacKay suspended for dying hair red

Ryle MacKay suspended for red hair

Fifteen-year-old Rylee MacKay (above) was recently suspended from her Utah middle school, but it wasn’t because of bad behavior or anything you’d typically think a student would be suspended for. Rylee was suspended because she dyed her hair what school officials considered to be an “unnatural” and “distracting” shade of red.

After dying her hair, Rylee went to school not expecting any reaction at all, but what she got was a room to herself, away from her peers. And when her mother objected to the cruel punishment, Rylee was suspended and forbidden to come back to school until she dyed her hair back to a normal shade.

According to Rylee’s mother, the Washington County school district has the right to decide whether or not a student’s hair is considered “distracting,” but the policy isn’t very clear. “That rule is so vague,” Amy claims, according to KSL.com. “It’s totally his (Principal Roy Hoyt’s) opinion whether it’s too bright or not.”

Rylee MacKay red hair

The school dress code requires that student’s hair and facial hair is to be “groomed” at all times and bans “extreme hairstyles.” The code also requires hair color to be within the spectrum of color that hair grows naturally.

Rylee’s mother also said that the color her daughter dyed her hair on February 2 was the same color she’d been using since September, but the Vice Principal Jan Goodwin claims there were also shades of pink and purple which were visible in the sunlight.

Goodwin called Rylee’s parents the day that her hair became an issue and requested that they dye it at home to get it back to another shade, but Rylee’s mother declined, saying she feared it would turn her hair orange. “He suggested I go to Walmart and get a box,” Amy said. “I told him I had had it professionally done and that I didn’t want it to turn orange. I asked him to give me until Monday so I could get it professionally done over the weekend.”

Suspended Utah middle schooler Rylee MacKay with brown hair

Goodwin in turn said that if that were going to be the case, Rylee would have to stay confined at the school and not be visible to any other students, but Amy wasn’t going to stand for her child being embarrassed by the issue any longer. For now, Rylee is suspended, but tomorrow she will go back to school where she will hopefully get the color approval from her principal and be allowed to return to class. Either way, her hair is going to be some sort of shade of red.

“I absolutely am not going to dye it brown. That is not an option,” Amy explains. “My daughter feels beautiful with the red hair. Changing her hair really changed her; she really blossomed. When she got red hair, she got compliments, and even her teachers told her, ‘Wow, your hair is beautiful,’ and it really helped her,” MacKay said. “She’s said numerous times, ‘I’ll always be a redhead. I’m never going brown again. I’ll be a redhead until the day I die.’ And now I have to say, ‘No, sorry, you have to dye it brown?’ I’m not going to change it back.”

Amy hopes that the dress code issue will soon be resolved and adds that there are “way more pressing issues” for the school to enforce other than the color of students’ hair.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ChristaOgata Christa Lyn Ogata

    My hair is a similar shade right now. I work in an office with a lot of top engineers for a major car manufacturer and no one cares. Her hair isn’t blue or green or overly funky. It’s red!

  • sanoga

    Ok… 1) There’s nothing radical about her hair color.. it looks like an enhanced natural red. 2) She’s beautiful! The red suits her! Just saying…

  • Marti B

    I would keep the beautiful red color. She has not done anything wrong, it is the school’s problem. DO NOT CHANGE for them. DO NOT BACK DOWN.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maiko.higa.33 Maiko Higa

    In the first one, it looks like there’s bright color underneath. BUT I totally disagree with the school, its a really stupid rule. My high school never had anything like that.

  • http://twitter.com/coffylover Caty C.P. :)

    Good grief. She looks like a lovely girl!! Her school should find more important things to worry about.

  • stillaredhead

    I was also suspended from school when I was 15 for my red hair because it was too “distracting” I had it red for mon, tues, and wed but then on thursday I was sent to the office. This one lady who didn’t like me complained and she wasn’t even a teacher either she was a special needs assistant and would always tell me my hair was gonna fall off -_- All my teachers and kids loved my hair but that one lady ugh and everyone else who had colored hair never got in trouble or got suspended. I had to call home and my mom was mad and we left and I couldnt go back until it was “natural”

  • http://www.facebook.com/shelly.shores Shelly Shores

    shouldnt it be considered discrimination? especially if we’re not talking about a private school?

  • Piper

    I think it looks totally natural and beautiful ,Id fight the school on changing it and I bet you’d win

  • Dana

    Dear starcasm, please start using correct punctuation and spelling. You were spelling Riley two ways, Riley and Rylee
    Thank you!

  • PaigeMyrissa

    This is ridiculous. When I was a senior a few years ago we had kids in school with purple hair, Mohawks, all kinds of things. Im a natural brunette but I dye my hair a shade of red very close to hers and all I’ve ever gotten is compliments.
    Im sure the school has PLENTY of other things they can be focusing on, this girls hair does not need to be an issue.

    • PaigeMyrissa

      BTW, I love the color on her. She looks gorgeous :)

  • burkey

    That principle and school should be ashamed of themselves for picking on a student and wasting any amount of time on such a stupid issue. Ridiculous.

  • Cheermom

    Her hair is GORGEOUS! Fight the school!!

  • Sarah

    I can honestly say I’ve never been distracted by someone’s hair color. Especially that gorgeous red color. I had my hair dyed that same shade before and I loved it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bluegreydude4 Mark Foor

    I don’t know what this young lady’s parents plan to do. Personally I see nothing wrong with her hair color. She’s a very pretty young lady either way. I know what would happen if this were my daughter….me and that principal would be taking a ride to the hospital together…her to get my foot out of her butt and me to get my foot back!

  • Mickey

    Her hair looks natural enough to me. It’s not like it’s firetruck red! I see no problem with her hair.

  • http://twitter.com/molly_nicolson molly nicolson

    I literally would change schools because of that. Bending to that stupid rule? No way. SO stupid.

  • Meowzers

    That’s Hurricane, Utah for you.

  • Justine Lambert Snyder

    seems to me there are students causing real trouble at any school…and they are focusing on hair color? Seriously, the school needs to get priorities straight. And yes, her red hair is lovely. I started dyeing my hair red at 15, and never had a problem.