8-Year-Old Shamed on School Picture Day & Banned from Photos Because of Her Red Hair

Marian Scott

Eight-year-old Marian Scott was left embarrassed and in tears after a school official told her she wasn't allowed to get school photos taken because of her hair. Scott, who's a student at Paragon Charter Academy in Jackson County, Michigan, had been excited to show off her red hair extensions to all her classmates on October 3. Her excitement turned to dismay when she was reportedly barred from school picture day because the hairdo violated her school's dress code.

  • Scott had been asking for colorful braids for a while before her mother, Latoya Howard, finally gave in.

    Howard told Today Parents that her third-grader was thrilled when she agreed to let her don the red braids for picture day last Thursday.

    “Marian couldn’t stop staring at herself in the mirror,” Howard said. “She kept saying, ‘Thank you mom!' over and over again.”

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  • The little girl's joy quickly soured when she arrived at school and had the wind taken out of her sails.

    An official pulled Scott aside and told her that she wasn't allowed to get her pictures taken, citing a school rule in the student handbook that stated "hair must be of natural tones.”

    "Marian had to stand in the hallway while everyone was taking pictures,” her father, Doug Scott, later explained. “They said she couldn’t represent the school.”

    Speaking with WILX, her father added that neither he nor his wife were notified about what happened. 

    "All of this is uncalled for -- they didn't even call us," he said. "Marian didn't leave the house, go on the street, and get this done on her own, no -- she's 8 years old. We did this ourselves in our own home, and there's no way I felt like this would happen." 

    Doug Scott argued that because the consequences of coming to school with dyed hair is not explicitly stated, the issue is in a gray area.

    "If they would have reached out to us and said come get her ... she's got a hair issue, we need you to change it, that's not allowed -- I would have been fine with why this happened, but they didn't reach out to us," he continued. "They let her stay in school ... so if she's not a disruption to the class, then why is she a disruption to the picture?"

  • School officials are firing back, claiming they notified parents of school dress codes in an automated call before picture day.

    Principal Ben Kriesch explained that students who have violated the policy are given a week to correct them. School spokesperson Leah Nixon told Today Parents in a statement that the school took “great care to ensure families are well informed about this policy.”

    Doug Scott told WILX, however, that he never got the message. 

    "Had I seen the email, I probably would have told Marian's mother to not do it, but I guess I think it's good that this happened, because now people are going to get the opportunity to see what is really going on."

  • Marian returned to school with black hair on Monday, and her parents hope that she can participate in picture retakes November 12. 

    Meanwhile, photographer Pamela Morris Lee saw Marian's story on the news and reached out to the parents on Facebook, offering to take her school photos for free.

    Her father, however, is still saddened over the incident. “My daughter is always happy, so to see her crying, it breaks my heart,” he said.