Delaware school says NO PINK HAIR

UPDATE: Pink-haired 6th-grader allowed back in class

The Christina School District allowed Brianna, an honors student, to return today because her hair color does not violate the district’s rules, according to an email from the district’s attorney to the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware, which had taken up the cause today

Honors student banned from school for pink hair: Sixth-grader earns dye job by raising grades but Shue-Medill officials say it’s disruptive Written by MIKE CHALMERS The News Journal

Brianna’s parents let her dye her hair pink last week as a reward for good grades, but when she showed up at Shue-Medill Middle School in Newark, officials told her and her parents that the hair color is so disruptive that Brianna can’t come back until her hair is back to its natural color

The school’s policy, which is posted on its website, bans “excessive hair colors, red, blue, green etc.” It allows only “natural color, brown, blond, black, natural red/auburn.”

I hope all kids in Shue-Medill Middle School dye their hair pink to support their sister and freedom of expression!

Moore said the school gave the family three options: bleach out the dye job, wait several weeks for it to fade while Brianna sits in in-school suspension or take her to another school in the Christina district.

Are you F’ing kidding me!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sit in in-school suspension or transfer out ??? Hey CSD school board! Did you really approve this part of the policy???

“I don’t think you should be allowed to tell me — as a parent — what color my daughter’s hair should be,” said her father, Kevin.

Go daddy go !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


VA Middle School Student with Blue Hair Allowed to Return to Class After ACLU Intervention

“The district court’s decision in McNew’s case was based on a 1972 Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, Massie v. Henry, holding that students have a “right to wear their hair as they wish as an aspect of the right to be secure in one’s person guaranteed by the due process clause.” In 1999, the ACLU also represented a Chesterfield County Middle School student who was ordered to leave school because her hair was colored pink. That case never made it to court, as the school immediately reinstated the student once the ACLU intervened.”

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123 Responses

  1. If it is a rule, it is a rule.. but, she can’t come back until it is back to its natural color????? that is terrible. she could ruin all of her grades by then. She will have to wait at least two weeks until she has some roots to dye or she will fry her hair. That would be good at this point if they all did the same. :D

  2. More and more schools are initiating dress codes (including acceptable hair, jewelry, etc) in order to level the playing field. Especially at Shue- I know people who have been bullied because they had on designer jeans. We should expect students and parents to abide by the rules. If she dyed her hair pink she can dye it back to it’s natural color and be in school the same day. There is nothing wrong with having rules and enforcing them.

  3. Kilroy,

    I am disappointed in you. I guess there should be no rules then huh. Just a wild west rodeo! So, if parents and school leaders CRAFT a code of dress, we should then crucify them for enforcing it??? This is why we get what we do in our schools.

    CSD will cave in, and the only lesson this girl learns is: when you disagree, tell authority to go fuck off. No reasoned appraoch like working to change the policy for next year, finding out whay that community felt it was a good idea (even if it isnt) etc etc.

    Kilroy supports anarchy in schools?

  4. it depends what kind of dye. Don’t they use jello or something sometimes? I thought I saw her pic. on Delaware online it didn’t look like the non-permanent kind, if it is ‘permanent’ dye, she will have to wait while she grows roots.. I know, I’ve had bright orange hair before. :) lesson learned.. go to stylist to be blonde :)

  5. Uh oh… did CSD just kick a ‘problem’ child out of school like the opposition says NCS days on a daily basis?

  6. Hey What LOL !!!! The charter school rules are law yet there are those who fight it ! BUT reading some NJ comments I’ll admit parents should have read uniform policy and protested then. HOWEVER, CSD shouldn’t be infringing on constitutional rights. BUT yea yea, someone could say color uniforms infringe on those rights.

    “Kilroy supports anarchy in schools?” Well to achieve it in America we must start at the school level :) :) :)

  7. I hear students at CSW can’i have pocket protector that has glitter in it!

  8. Go Pink For Brianna!!

    No, the charters kick out underperforming students, but this school was stupid enough to kick out a kid who had worked hard to be an honor student.

    If they can do this to an honor student who has parent support, think what they can do to an underperforming student with little parent support – and you’ll never read about it in the paper.

    Whoever is the school official behind this, that person should not end up promoted to a district office one day. I’m sure that person would be a good fit for the charters though.

    Oh – all that nonsense about administrators caving in to demanding parents, and living in fear of parent lawsuits? Urban legends.

    So charter schools – do you want a hardworking honor student with pink hair? You know where to find her.

  9. Come on Mike O ! She is a middle school student and is a kid who apparently didn’t do it to buck the system. I hope other kids dye their hair pink to support freedom of expression! One would assume uniform policy dictates what color clothes and type of shoes. Jewelry and hair should be off limits. We’re in America not Nazi Germany! Parents need to read what they are signing re: handbook

  10. Come on , local salons – get some free publicity by offering free pink dye jobs to Shue-Medill students and their families!!

  11. charter schools kicking kids out left and right is another urban legend. Where are all of the open spots left in the wake?
    I have a kid who struggles..through many meetings with teachers and the dean of academics, I was asked if I wanted my child moved down to the lower phase (from phase 4 to 3). My childs abilities were probably about a 3 1/2 phase so it was a hard call. I left it up to the school and they kept him a 4, ablities were closer to a 4. He has had tutoring, including a period of the day in the special ed. room working on weaknesses. This has been going on for years. This year, my kid started actually ‘underperforming’. (getting burnt out, and I heard is common for 8th graders, they are ready to be ‘done’ middle school). I can tell the difference between truly struggling and underperforming, and so can the teachers and so can the dean of academics (who makes the ultimate decision in where a student is placed). Underperforming is not doing homework, turning projects in late, writing fast, half thought out term papers, not performing during class. If my kid was ”allowed” to continue to underperform, without pressure from teachers and from me, then he would probably do just that. I am thankful for the pressure on kids to perform to their ability. (no IEP or special ed. so he would never show up on the stats people like to quote, but he has spent a lot of time in special ed. room over the years!There are a lot of other kids getting the same kind of help)

  12. I’m torn on this. If this is a rule parents signed off on… well, that’s the rule. On the other hand, I think an honor student with pink hair is the least of the district’s problems. Thinking outside the box, and I’m sure there’s potential for abuse, but things like this could be an incentive for good grades.

  13. This is why the district schools will always struggle to improve. No support from parents, this girl is being taught to disrespect her school, their rules and gets featured in the paper as a “victim” Come on, how is not allowing pink hair a crime against her civil rights?! There are going to be all kinds of rules in society and work later on for her, that’s life. Let’s save the outrage for a real issue, I don’t believe her hair demands this attention. This must be so frustrating to the school; their teachers also played a part in her academic success. Too bad they gave her any attention, I hope the school doesn’t cave and change their rule, and the CSD district backs them, and all of the parents out there that have demanding change should hope so too.

  14. Mike O LOL :) Can you image if students across the state start dyeing their hair pink in support! LOL

    Here is the policy

    Prior to the school board vote, our school community engaged in a process to draft our guidelines. The process included staff, students and parents. We are pleased to share with you the final outcome of this process. The policy guidelines are as follows:

  15. “If this is a rule parents signed off on… well, that’s the rule. ”

    Public schools cannot make unconstitutional rules, whether you agree to them or not. The school could make a rule requiring you to pray to Jesus as your personal savior, and that rule would be just as invalid as the pink hair ban, with or without a parent signature.

  16. so they should change their rule book or throw it away and hand out a copy of the constitution?

  17. Okay, okay! You’re correct, Mike. So… Go pink? ;-)

  18. Hard to believe that allowing her to dye her hair if she made honor roll was a motivation! But it did and it worked! But I agree, if the parents signed off on the policy then it is what it is! However, did they sign off ?

  19. No… unconstitutional rules/laws remain in effect until somebody successfully challenges them. That’s how we enforce the Constitution in this country. Go Brianna!

  20. “If they can do this to an honor student who has parent support, think what they can do to an underperforming student with little parent support – and you’ll never read about it in the paper. ”

    What exactly did they “do to her” ?? They made her follow a rule? Oh my god, they should be strung up! How does this in any way equal the inequity of education in low income schools?

    you guys are cracking me up today! :-)

  21. For parents who feel constricted by the Constitution, there’s always charters.

  22. @Mike O But Charter schools ARE public schools……

  23. I heard she went to NCS until she got a D on a math quiz in 4th grade :)

  24. ohh I forgot about freedom of speech. Kids should be allowed to talk when the teacher is giving a lesson. :) ok, I’m done. I have to work today

  25. Please point me to the part of the Consitution that addresses pink hair.

    For parents that want their kids to dictate the rules, and disrespect authority, there’s always district schools.

  26. @DDNCS If Meece did this, it would never have hit the News Journal.

  27. Really??? Rules are put in place for a reason. Without them we have anarchy. Shue has had YEARS of problems and this was one of the solutions. Students, parents and teachers came together to come up with the rules and I’m sure the students had to sign a code of conduct at the start of the school year. If you don’t want to follow the rules (and there not even that stringent!) you can always home school your kids!
    Teaching our children that they do not have to follow the rules is a recipe for disaster- whether you are in a regular or charter school. If this is your way of thinking you are part of the problem.

  28. sorry but kids don’t have the freedoms adults have. Or they shouldn’t have them anyway. Otherwise my kids would eat Doritos for dinner every night while watching Family Guy. :)

  29. DDC- They do have a rule on hair colorat NCS and a child has been sent home because of it. But b/c the parents understand rules are made for a reason they didn’t run to the NJ and cry foul! They understood the need for rules and policy. It has nothing to do with charter or standard schools- it’s what we teach our kids!

  30. So does CSD discriminate against hair color?

    It allows only “natural color, brown, blond, black, natural red/auburn.”

  31. no, Shue Medill designed a dress code with it own parents to help add DECORUM. You need to learn to read. Go to the website for CSD, the policy is there, in full.

  32. A natural color? Nothing from a salon or bottle is natural. Nearly all the female and some of the male teachers should be sent home for their dye jobs. I say color your hair back to normal and then only wear pink tutus with lime green stockings and day glow orange shirts. Or just shave it into a high standing Mohawk.

  33. Mike O, guess you aren’t going to revise your charter/public disconnect?

  34. no, Shue Medill designed a dress code with it own parents to help add DECORUM. You need to learn to read. Go to the website for CSD, the policy is there, in full.

    so, DDC is this a rule you support, or not?

  35. NCS parents are so torn today…they want to attack desperately, but must also support rules and following them because that’s what Mr. Meece says……

    I feel bad for them today.

  36. wow, way to avoid the question. I’m not torn, I support Shue Middle School and their attempt to enforce rules, I feel badly that this will yet again blow up in their face, as they will receive no support for taking a stand.

  37. DDC, the difference is that at charters, if you don’t like it you don’t have to be there.

    It’s a gray area. We tolerate charters allowing you to sign away First Amendment rights to freedom of expression, yet (so far) we still enforce the First Amendment freedoms of religion even at charters.

    It seems that society has agreed that some parts of the First Amendment are more important than others, while some can be treated with a wink and a nudge. Especially if only kids are affected.

  38. this particular rule is an OK rule. As usual, the problem is the measure of consequence.

    Too bad Shue isn’t NCS, they could just kick her out AND NOT GET FRONT PAGE HEADLINE!

    That';s the issue right there. When CSD does this, it’s BAD, when NCS does it, it’s A-OK!

    That i why Charter approvals should be stayed until the law is redone!

  39. @Mike O you said:

    Public schools cannot make unconstitutional rules, whether you agree to them or not. The school could make a rule requiring you to pray to Jesus as your personal savior, and that rule would be just as invalid as the pink hair ban, with or without a parent signature.

    SO…..why is it OK for Charters…since they are public…..

  40. Hold on… Shue has an honors student? How did this happen? NCS skims the cream… someone call the Charter police. This can’t be allowed to continue, honor students at non Charter schools.

  41. Greg, even I chuckled at that one.

  42. Folks let’s NOT make personal attacks toward this “child” ! Yes she should have know the rules and nothing should be said about “her” other than that!

  43. LOL :) Greg now that was funny !

  44. Sorry, did you mean me? I was obviously being sarcastic but probably should have realized kids might not pick up on that.

  45. This is just a large veiled NCS debate all over again……LOVE IT. Keep the Charter discussion alive!!!!!!!

  46. DDC- you make not sense at all. Do you ramble on just for the heck of it?? NCS did have this issue- beacuse it is in the code of conduct the parents did the right thing and abided by the policy. Again- without rules there is anarchy. And maybe this is just proof as to why NCS works and Shue doesn’t and why there are people lining up to get into NCS and parents lining up to get their kids out of Shue. Again CSD is broken and people like you won’t admit it.

  47. again, Mike O…please point me to the first ammedment right for pink hair on a minor.

    poor DDC…trying so desparately to turn this subject into another twisted attack ….that’s a weak one, you can do better! :-( Come on, call me a racist, that will really show me :-)

  48. DDC- you and your blog keep the charter discussion alive or is that different??

  49. @DDC, best comment from you so far… or at least today… “NCS parents are so torn today…they want to attack desperately, but must also support rules and following them because that’s what Mr. Meece says……

    I feel bad for them today.”

    Hilarious… you are a piece of work. You have attacked desperately from day 1 and I stress the work DESPERATLEY. Property taxes, jobs, cafeteria, lottery is rigged, skimming the cream… and now Charters are unconstitutional. All of your items were found to be untrue and the 1 item that was valid has been addressed (lunch). Are you serious? Why the hatred? You my friend… are a sad person.

  50. Folks let’s NOT make personal attacks toward this “child” ! Yes she should have know the rules and nothing should be said about “her” other than that!

    @kilroy, this is not the childs fault at all…it’s the parents, they are doing her no favor.

  51. I like to force it back over here to watch the crazy in real time…..NCS defenders supporting segregation and polices used to exclude, not include…then calling it a community school….with a lottery….its rather hilarious actually….

  52. That’s so funny- I just thought how I’m wasting my precious time watching this crazy DDC person and what off the wall statement will be posted next! It’s actually become entertainment, kinda like “One flew over the cuckoos nest”!

  53. All I am saying is don’t target negative comments about the girl as a person! Make coming about where she use to attend true or not is wrong! Call her names is wrong! Questioning he for not following rules OK, However, now that this is an issue will the hair rule stand-up to legal question. Also, kids are people too! Perhaps we need to start asking them where schools have failed them and what “adults” need to do to improve their lives>

  54. Sorry DDC… I didn’t see that you laughed at my previous comment. Maybe you are not so bad… ugh, I can’t believe I just said that.

    Can someone explain to me how Charters are unconstitutional?

  55. The right to pink hair derives from the explicit First Amendment right to free speech. There are multiple court findings that non-speech conduct is “free expression” that is protected by the First Amendment. But, there are also conflicting court findings, especially when it comes to kids. So each case basically has to be tested by the courts to get your answer. Which might be a different answer from one decade to the next.

  56. @Greg,

    There is not just one issue (lunch). there are a plethora of issues. Dr. Lowery is now giving them her due consideration. You really should click Kilroy’s link to the State Board meeting and listen from 1:05 TO THE END…..methinks the BOE is leaning to NO MORE CHARTER approvals for awhile……

  57. DDC, NCS parents are torn over what????? The reason NCS parents stay at NCS is because there are rules. Rules probably similar to what the parents enforce at home.. no cell phones during class (dinner), it is not ok to bully students (siblings), it is not ok to talk back to a teacher (parent), etc etc etc… Maybe there are not ‘problem’ kids at NCS because of people who don’t want their kids ‘rights violated’ to the point of leaving the school on their own free will, so who is left? Oh yeah, the parents who want strict rules for their kids. :) Yeah, Mr. Meece holds us hostage under his terrible ‘rules’. You just make me laugh..

  58. See, we are all about Charters in this thread!!!!

    Kilroy, GREAT JOB!

  59. “That’s so funny- I just thought how I’m wasting my precious time watching this crazy DDC person and what off the wall statement will be posted next! It’s actually become entertainment, kinda like “One flew over the cuckoos nest”!” LMAO :) ~ too entertaining, I am supposed to be working.
    Kilroy, I totally agree with you, however, I must point out, you mocked every student at CSW with your pocket protector joke. Just sayin..

  60. Mike – the constitution doesn’t establish freedom of speech. It’s the bill of rights which was an amendment to the constitution. The bill of rights also allows people to bear arms (schools don’t allow that).

  61. Happy to oblige….with the entertainment and the shut down reality of how the Charter Law is destroying traditional public schools….

  62. .. and kids talking during a teachers lesson could be ‘freedom of speech’. Better keep parents signing those handbooks. :)

  63. DDC- I guess it’s how you view life- Is my glass half empty or half full? As far as I’m concerned Charters aren’t destroying public schools they are only making them better. I see that in my children everyday!! With two kids that the public school labeled as special ed now performing well above standard at a charter school! I am thankful everyday for the blessing that the “luck of the draw” has bestowed upon me! Thank goodness whoever was policing the apps that day didn’t realize they were allowing a special needs child get though. Seeing as they are skimming the cream from the top!! HA HA!!

  64. @Arthur

    The Bill of Rights is PART of the Constitution as is EVERY amendment. That’s the genius of the Constitution, it is a living and breathing document.

  65. @Proud NCS Mom of 2

    They are making them better for YOUR kids on MY dime.

    As far as the glass half full/empty: either way it’s another dish I gotta wash.

  66. The bigger story here, which some have touched on, is that this case shows how difficult it is in public schools to enforce rules and behavior which have been decided on by all stakeholders (a dated word I know). While the admin may have acted a bit hastily and aggressively in this case, it does show how difficult it is in a system with disparate student and parent viewpoints for a common system of student behavior to evolve. Does it matter if this student is a honor student? Or if this hypothetically happened in a high school, the captain of a successful football team? Is it a big deal if she’s allowed to keep her hair pink, then what happens to the rest of the dress code? Why should she be the only one exempt from it?

    “Also, kids are people too!” The laws related to K-12 education and students are such that students do give up certain “rights” as stated in the constitution (I’m including amendments here); However the loss of these “rights” should be in accordance with previous judicial rulings and should be handled in accordance with a student handbook stating right and responsibilities. Obviously, Shue-Medill has done so with their handbook and code of student behavior. We are now in the court of public opinion, will it go to a judicial court?

  67. so this means you think kids should exercise their rights because it is in the Constitution? So talking in class when a teacher is giving a lesson is ok? Do you have any lines that you draw when it comes to kids? Oh wait, I see that you ignore most of the questions or comments directed at you.. or give some nonsense response… another dish you gotta wash? really, that is your reply? She was saying how the ‘charter school who creams’ helped her kids.. they perform well BECAUSE of the school. It is a chicken and egg thing… Did NCS take all ‘high performing kids’ or did they help them become one? That was her point, that they helped her kids.. and your reply is about washing dishes… I guess you will reply to me about laying eggs or something.. oh I got it, I am a cracked egg? :)

  68. I’ve been following this discussion all morning and just shaking my head. I truly don’t get it. That is great that this child set a goal and achieved it! Her parents should be proud, and yes, they have the right to reward her. They could have told her, get the grades, and you can dye your hair pink for the whole summer! The school has a code and the parents agreed to abide by it. Instead of applauding the school for enforcing the rules, you are suggesting a Pink Hair Protest??
    Citing the Constitution? Even with the right to free speech, there are rules in society, and you do these children no favors if you don’t teach them that. The schools have an obligation to educate children free of distraction, fear, intimidation, etc. Would it be protected free speech if a student told a teacher or another student to f-off?? I don’t see the difference. NCS has a dress code that encompasses clothing, hair color, and yes, even piercings and size of earrings. I agree with that – they shouldn’t be coming to school with 10 inch hoop earrings. And even if I choose to allow my child to wear them outside of school, they would follow the rules in school.
    Why not channel that desire for self-expression into art, creative writing, science and math, robotics, technology, sports, music, etc.?

  69. Hey DDC- I PAY taxes too!! So I don’t think it’s your dime. It’s mine so therefore why don’t I have the right to say how I want to spend it??? And another dish you have to wash?? Wow if that’s the way you view life you really have come issues!

  70. When I saw this headline this morning, my heart sank, because this is just the headline that CSD did not need in the paper at this time, and because I knew that nobody on either side of the NCS/CSD debate would be able to resist making it about something it’s not.

    A good administrator would have found a better answer to defuse the situation, like suggesting a scarf or other head covering until the hair could be re-dyed, because a good administrator would have realized that this is a child, an individual, not a cog in a machine (right, NCS parents?).

    On the other hand, telling an honors student to hit the road and go find another school if she can’t immediately change her hair color sort of vitiates the argument that only charter schools get to keep kids away from education for whatever reason they please (right, NCS skeptics and CSD supporters?).

    And, Pandora, I’m not the least bit conflicted–it is not that a rule has been broken that is in question, it is whether the consequence is appropriate to the infraction. It is not. Denying a student access to education for that length of time over a non-violent rules violation is, frankly, unsupportable. She could have been assigned school service, her parents could have been required to come in for a refresher on school policies, they could have (as I indicated above) let her wear a scarf or other head covering.

    But denial of access to education for this level of infraction without a pattern of inappropriate behavior is never appropriate.

  71. @All NCS supporters, I am sure this isn’t a surprise but DDC is here to fuel the flames, she says crazy things and calls people names to get a rise out of you. It has worked with me from time to time and I actually respect her for that. I don’t think she really is crazy… just a fighter and she has herself convinced she is right and believe it or not I respect her for that as well. I don’t think she would ever say any of these things to you in public so she hides here behind DDC, I don’t respect her for that. I would say you are better off discussing w/Mike O and Kilroy on the pros/cons of Charters and NCS unless you like the back and forth with DDC that most of the times goes nowhere.

    @DDC, You are not so bad… I think you are a softie deep down inside. I will hug you after the ‘decision’ on 4/19 either way. :) I will move on from this after 4/19 either way, my kids probably won’t go to CSD if the NCS HS isn’t approved… but I will move on. I wish you well my friend!!

  72. Thanks Greg, though I disdain being humanized.

    I think the decision will be epic.

  73. DDC, Yes it will be. Maybe you said this before… but do you have kids in CSD, or did you? Did you ever apply for NCS? Just curious.

  74. 3 in CSD, never applied to NCS.

  75. I know I’m late to the party, but this issue really captures the essence of why it will be difficult to bridge the “pro-charter” versus “no-charter” divide. The pro-charter camp by and large seem to view a student dress code as essential to maintaining decorum in the school, and therefore abide by it without question. The no-charter camp by and large have questioned the Constitutionality of the dress code as well as the severity of the punishment. Those are two very different viewpoints, and in my mind explain why as Rodney King so infamously said, “Why can’t we just get along?” My son wanted a mohawk but because NCS policy is “no distracting hair cuts”, he didn’t get a mohawk. Seems fairly straightforward to me, and guess what: he got a mohawk in the summer.

  76. There is really a constitutional debate over this? First Amendment right to free speech?

    The parents agreed to a dress code. It looks pretty cut and dried. It is a shame she is an honour’s student, but she broke the rules. It’s sad, but true.

    Do First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and religion then allow students to curse non stop at their teachers on the grounds that “I’m just expressing myself.” ?

    There are limits to ‘free speech.’ If the student’s behaviour (in this case, pink hair) is disruptive, do her individual rights outweigh the rights of the other students to be educated? (Yes, I know pink hair is not really a disruption, but the question remains valid).

    Is this really a discussion? I agree with Pandora from some of the first posts. I’m conflicted. It seems petty, but it IS a rule that was broken, and a rule that was agreed to.

  77. @Patriot Except, not all in pro-charter camp (I really hate the way we keep grouping everyone) are in agreement with you.

    @Steve I agree the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. I should have been more specific. My first thought was concerning the “rule” being broken, not the punishment.

    That said, and after reading comments that cite distractions, what could be considered a distraction? Some think pink hair, some not. What if a student with brown hair became a platinum blonde?

  78. @ pandora – I said “by and large”, not all but if you read comments from pro-charter posters they are fairly consistent in that they feel the student dress code should be followed without exception. The administration’s response was unecessarily heavy-handed, but that doesn’t erase the fact that the student broke the rules and is being enabled by her parents. Undermining school authority is a very poor example to set for her and other students. Parents at NCS may not agree with the student dress code policy 100%, but we are 100% in agreement that the policy should be enforced. Subtle, but important nuance.

  79. Pandora, I was one who said I thought the punishment was too harsh.. however, I did not write the rules or consequences and I would abide by ones that I sign up on. Unlike others on here, I think that her being an honor student is probably to her benefit, it will be easier for her to make-up work. My kids bus driver has a rule that they are to keep their hood on jackets off of their head when on the bus. I do not like this rule because my kids don’t like hats so a hood would keep them warm. Too bad for my kids. I told them that it is probably a rule for a reason, and they will have to live by it… just like in the real world!

  80. This debate could be skewed in so many ways. So much of it is personal opinion. Is it distracting, what is distracting. The fact is there were rules that were made by a cross section of all involved. They agreed on what they were and what the consequences would be. It’s simple cause and effect. Now those involved are crying foul.

    I’m a little confused at the whole constitutional right, Bill of Rights, violating the 1st ammendment. What?? The 1st ammendment states- Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. How does dying your hair pink have anything to do with our 1st ammendment rights??

  81. NCJ Number: NCJ 069079
    Journal: JOURNAL OF ORTHOMOLECULAR PSYCHIATRY Volume:8 Issue:4 Dated:(1979) Pages:218-221
    Author(s): A G SCHAUSS
    Publication Date: 1979
    Pages: 4
    Origin: Canada
    Language: English

  82. Proud Mom,

    RE: Constitutional rights–there is a whole corpus of legal decisions regarding student free speech. The basic tenet is that “free speech does not end at the school house door” must be juxtaposed against the administrative need to “keep good order and discipline” and a safe environment within the schools.

    Why this becomes a constitutional issue of sorts would be the reasons that the school cited for the rule, that it was “too distracting.” The courts have been back and forth for twenty years on that standard, and while decisions have varied (see kilroy’s update), the general consensus is that “good order and discipline” is the best standard to use, and “distracting” (while not ruled out entirely) places a burden of proof on the school system.

    Dying your hair pink is, in most legal standards, considered “speech,” as is wearing a T-shirt with a logo or design on it. It is, the courts have generally held, “a personal or political statement.”

    Not saying how the courts would rule on this one, but that might at least explain why it is considered a constitutional issue.

  83. DDC- that’s pretty funny- publication dated 1979??? couldn’t find anything a little more recent?? You should push to have all of the walls in CSD painted pink. Maybe then we can lose the police officers and our schools could be safer!!

  84. If my oldest kid was any more tranquilized in school he would be snoring (from what his teachers tell me :) )

  85. I normally don’t like slippery slope arguments, but this “what is a distraction” rule seems ripe for it.

  86. -“That said, and after reading comments that cite distractions, what could be considered a distraction? Some think pink hair, some not. What if a student with brown hair became a platinum blonde?”
    @pandora… I think that is where the school can get lost in the futility and can’t win. If the school did not punish for this violation (because she’s an honor student, or because the “pink” wasn’t too bad, etc) but punished another kid (maybe not an honor student) for wearing an obscene shirt, or flip flops (if that’s against the rules) wouldn’t that be a problem too? Also, would it make a difference if the rule was broken purposely or if not and the rule/consequence isn’t clear?
    In the end, society has rules, like it or not, some fair, some not. I’m not saying not to question those rules you feel violate your rights,and fight to change them, but at the same time, I can’t tell my boss f-you and cry “freedom of speech” because he fired me. I think the school was unfairly portrayed in the story, and the parents are doing a diservice in the long run. Just my opinion…not a charter statement!

  87. It is tragic to see what gets the anti-excellence crowd riled up. They seem to care about everything that is irrelevant to education, while simultaneously showing little or no excitement over excellence in education. No wonder the educational standards in this country are declining precipitously. Yesterday the press reported on a forth coming report by a committee headed by Condi Rice, that laments the decline in educational standards to such an extent that it threatens national security.


    No wonder, since even those who claim to care about education, care only about free lunches, pink hair and dream of a world where there are no schools which deliver academic excellence and encourage discipline and decorum. They even want to encourage children to break rules instituted by their parents and teachers. A school like NCS should be treasured but they treasure travesties like CSD, while dreaming of destroying NCS.

    I see no consideration of the consequences of depriving DE and Newark of a high school, if it replicates the performance of the MS and ES, will raise educational standards in the state to the highest in the country.

  88. Looks like she’s back in class…just saw on deonline.

  89. I have no problem with her being in school as I did think it was harsh punishment. Obviously you can’t grow out your hair as fast as you can change a shirt with a bad logo. Does the handbook actually say a time frame of discipline for offenses? They should have thought about the punishment BEFORE handing it out. It’s parenting 101, should be a no-brainer for a school. Now they just look wishy-washy. (but for the girls personal sake, I’m glad she doesn’t have to miss 2 weeks of school)

  90. Go Brianna! Go ACLU!!

    This is a very graceful and face-saving exit strategy.

    As I teach my children: Powerful people have to follow rules too. It’s just that sometimes they need a reminder.

  91. my bad, I just heard she was back in school, I hadn’t read the article yet.

  92. Looking at the comments on this story on Delawareonline, most people posting are in full support of the student breaking the rules with the full support of her parents. There are many comments along the lines of “the school needs to focus more on grades than hair style” and “14th Amendment rights trump school dress code policy” and “why is pink hair a distraction”. I don’t understand those lines of thinking when it’s clear the student and parents understood dying the girl’s hair pink was in violation of the student dress code, but that’s okay. What that leads me to believe however is many in CSD would not be comfortable with their kids in an NCS-like environment because this blatant disregard for school policy by both student and parent would not be tolerated by the school community (i.e. school administration, teachers, parents and students), and no amount of 14th Amendment rhetoric would change that. There’s a lid for every pot, and clearly the NCS/charter school lid is not for every pot. Those who argue traditional public schools don’t have the latitude to enact rules the same as charter schools ought to ask themselves if the population being served even wants those rules. Judging by the reaction to this story, I would say it’s a resounding “No!”, so why all the NCS/charter bashing when policies like these are baked into the charter culture? Said another way, you don’t want that culture for your kids, so why rail against those who do and thus enroll their kids in charter schools? We pay property taxes too. But I digress: Go Brianna! Go ACLU! You’re exactly what public school in Delaware needs.

  93. Patriot- love the sarcasm. It’s true- most of the pro pink hair posters would not fit into the NCS environment. Both students and parents sign a code of condcut form and are actually expected to abide by it! So I too would like to know why all the anti-charter hype?? So for those of you making such a fuss over charters who really don’t think your kids need to abide by the rules, stay in public school and leave the charters alone. It would be greatly appreciated!

  94. First time I actually agree with EdWatcher. There is a greater constitutional issue. There have been several Supreme Court decisions regarding the 1st Amendment. The vast majority related to freedom of expression began at the high school level. There is a difference in the freedom of expression from a high school student and a sixth grader. There is also a difference between political speech and “expression” – political speech has more room. This case is clearly not political. I don’t think CSD would lose in a court, though I’m not a lawyer.
    In my opinion, it is a shame that Shue caved so quickly. The consequence was harsh, but a consequence (several day suspension – time to change color to natural color) would be appropriate. Unfortunately, this will open another can of worms for Shue and CSD as far as rule enforcement. Unfortunately, these parents failed in protecting their child from this incident. They could easily have turned this into a “finish the year” goal and dyed her hair for the summer. I wonder if they’ll be there to support her when a TV station, or McDonald’s for that matter, does not hire her because of the pink hair. There are appropriate social norms in certain settings. Pink hair in middle school does not qualify.

  95. This story has gone national:

    The best part of the story: Moore was invited back to school with assurances she would not be punished, said Wendy Lapham, school district spokeswoman.

    “The hair is not going to be an issue,” Lapham said.

    I’m beginning to see why so many are jaded about the prospects of effecting change in CSD.

  96. Change just DID happen in CSD. Change for the better, and a victory for common sense.

  97. I am saddened, but not surprised at your take. The story becomes the problem long term. We need to stop having these stories, even if some of it was sensationalized. From story break, to return of student was less than 12 hours. The damage, much more lasting.

  98. my comment was @Patriot

  99. @Mike O change has happened before: Kasia Houghton, Zach Christis an dnow Brianna Moore to name 3, the question that we keep having to answer is: what are we learning?

  100. I find it funny that all this is about one simple thing “following the rules”. If the rules in the dress code say no un-natural hair colors or distracting haircuts than what is the issue. When you send your student to school and sign the code of conduct you are saying that you will abide by the rules. I personally am disgusted with the parents of that child as they are basically teaching her to thumb her nose at the school and the rules she agreed to when she started the school year.
    I also question if there would have been media attention if said child was not an “honor student”. What are we teaching our kids people?? If I went into work in inappropriate attire my boss would ask me to go change so how is this really any different???

  101. I wonder how many new hair colors will be appearing in Shue by Friday…pink, blue, green? The kids are learning that they don’t have to follow the rules if they don’t want to. Sure the punishment was absolutely rediculous for her action, but they need to show the kids that they have to follow the rules. To put it into perspective, a child who beats up another student only gets a 5 day suspension.

  102. @John

    Agree completely.

    I am still saddened to see people instantly lap this story up and characterize it as representative of either all that is “good” about charters or all that is “bad” about CSD.

    The reality is that this is a story about a little girl who needed motivation, parents who didn’t check the rules, and an administrator who has a tone-deaf ear for fitting the punishment to the crime.

    It’s also about a newspaper that had nothing of substance, apparently, to put on the front page.

  103. I think they want to make an HBO movie :)

  104. NOW…’s a fuss says author of article…..thought it was a vicious banning….

  105. How sad- the lesson here is break the rules, complain and make a fuss about it and you’ll get your way. Great lesson to teach our children. Rules are meant to break!
    Great job CSD. If any of the rules violated civil rights why were they allowed to be in place in the beginning?? Doesn’t CSD or Shue consult an attorney when they made the code of conduct?

  106. “what are we learning?” ~ That CSD needs to rewrite their handbook? :) and that pink is tranquilizing :)

  107. I agree with you Steve! Also, big deal on the color of her hair! She’ll get more attention because of the media attention that she would have got from coloring her hair. I thought the motivation about dress codes was to reduce the impact on status symbols making all kids to appear $$$ equal. Now if seems like a form of social behavioral modification

  108. Love the sanctimonious tone being struck by some. I also have a 6th grader and he’s well aware of NCS’s student dress code the same as me. My kids and I discussed this story at dinner tonight, and my kids were incredulous that this girl got away with this behavior. The kid and parent willfully violated the rules and people are trying to either make the kid a victim or turn the issue into something it’s not: a freedom of speech issue. The fact that so many didn’t back the school speaks volumes. And people wonder why parents are flocking to charter schools?

  109. Just an aside for the rule following crowd. I am sure legal slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination against women, discrimination against the elderly, are all OK because the rules said so. Screw Rosa Parks. Get out of the seat. You know the rules, Rosa.

    A bit extreme, but true, nonetheless.

    Any NCS student could dye their hair any way they please and go to school. NCS could attempt to punish them, and a single lawsuit would show that Mr. Meece would cave in faster than CSD. He knows he would lose (the case law in this is pretty clear. It may require waiting until cancer awareness month/week/day to make it political expression) and he does not pay for a legal department. CSD has an attorney (and a pretty good one, as an aside) and got good advice to back down. NCS has the same rule and signing a waiver does not give them the right to violate a student’s rights. A private school could get away with this based on the choice of paying tuition. The public status of NCS would make them a loser on this issue. NCS is a few frivolous long, drawn out lawsuits away from fiscal chaos. They will always give in to a legal challenge until they become large enough to absorb legal costs.

  110. “The kids are learning that they don’t have to follow the rules if they don’t want to. ”

    You don’t get it. The school rules were wrong; and the district rules prevailed. The kids learned that if you stand up for what’s right, sometimes you can win.

    I hope to see a rainbow of hair colors tomorrow. What an awesome display of responsibility and school spirit that would be!

    Decorum != superficial conformity

  111. I have a dress code at work. If I were to show up in flagrant violation I would be sent home and not paid.

    A large part of schooling is to teach children how to behave in society. In this case, the student, and other students, learned that it is acceptable to get your way by breaking rules that you originally agreed to.

    @Mike O, I respectfully disagree with you. The rule may be faulty, but it was agreed to by the parents. It may need to be challenged, but not like this. The children will learn that they have run of the school and do not need to respect the rules.

  112. @ Mike – actually, you don’t get it. The rules were understood and agreed upon at the beginning of the year. If this family didn’t like those rules they were free to attend another school, but they chose to stay there and tacitly agreed to follow the school’s rules. Terrible example being set by the parents and shame on the district for folding. To the other poster who invoked Jim Crow and Rosa Parks (just a little over the top btw) NCS has had their dress code for 11 years without incident so apparently either nobody is “brave” enough to challenge this unjust restriction on self expeession or maybe, just maybe, the kids there feel it’s okay to just follow simple school rules of decorum.

  113. @ patriot

    Clearly having the policy for 11 years unchallenged makes it right. I do hope you will let the Brown family know that the BOE in Topeka is correct. The Plessey family will verify this from the 58 years that public segregation has been legal.

    I think you are on point that no one at NCS is brave enough to challenge much of anything at the school. That is one of the problems with a public school having absolute power.

    A question for NCS supporters: has any student ever been “put out” of NCS (expelled, excessive demerits, or counseled out)?

  114. @Not involved… I believe someone from NCS was sent home before for hair color, or so it was said on this site today. I can’t say for sure either way. But if not, is it a problem that kids and parents at NCS are following the dress code rule? Does that mean they are not ‘brave’ enough to ‘challenge’ the rules or just that they agree with them and are willing to follow them?

  115. Again people we are talking about rules that both the parent and the student agreed upon when school started this year. To compare it to a “Rosa Parks” or any other monumental civil rights issue is ridiculous and off putting. She did not stand up for her rights she basically told the school to shove it. As to pulling NCS into this discussion , really do we not have anything better to do?????

  116. Dmon- you are right- NCS does not have to be dragged into this one. Comparing this to Rosa Parks and that situation is insulting to her and the struggles of that time. This really should be simple- we as parents need to respect that the school has rules and we need to teach our children as students they need to follow the rules of the school. When you get a speeding ticket for doing 80 in a 55 mile an hour zone do you blame the policeman for enforcing the law??

  117. @NotInvolved & others,
    The NCS Code of Conduct and any changes are introduced and approved by a School Council and Board of Directors. Each of these has many parent and teacher reps as members. To assume that parents are afraid to suggest changes or challenge rules is based on opinion and not fact. This information is readily available at the NCS website.

  118. by all means if its on the NCS website it’s Gospel! LOL. Why would we believe a single commitment that leader or board makes…..

  119. I keep hearing on here that NCS race/income %s are so far off from something.. What are you comparing NCS to? The City of Newark, 5 mile radius, CSD, something else? IMO… the only fair comparison would be to the 5 mile radius. Does someone have that data/study? Can you point me to it?

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