Policy change allows students to color their hair

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Anagha Indic

Junior Rachel Landingham is just one of many AMSA students to embrace the policy change.

AMSA administrators posted an announcement on the school’s website Tuesday that the hair dye policy that sparked controversy in the fall has subsequently been revised.

It was a short announcement that read simply: “The Student-Parent handbook has been revised removing hair color restrictions that was formerly found on page 56.”

This comes nearly three months after The AMSA Voice reported on widespread student disagreement with the hair restrictions. The passage referenced on page 56 originally read: “Unnaturally colored hair dye (i.e., purple, orange, green, etc.) is prohibited.”

Vice Principal Rick Porter said that the policy needed a re-evaluation. He said that he and interim Executive Director Dr. Mary Ann DeMello had “thought of a few scenarios that really weren’t covered [along] with the hair color.”

Mr. Porter said that they examined various hypothetical situations which did not fall under the hair color policy but, at the same time, were related to the spirit of the rule.

“What if a student came in with spikes in their hair?” he speculated. “Is that allowable? Technically, under the existing rules, it would have been.”

Or …

“What if someone came in and shaved half of their head and the other half was ‘normal’? Would that be allowable? Yes, it would.”

Mr. Porter added that students will meet people outside of AMSA with all kinds of hairstyles. It’s the modern world.

I feel like it is a really good idea because you get some personal expression.”

— Morgan Stahl

“We said, out in society, the students are going to come across people with different shaded hair colors now and then,” Mr. Porter said. “It’s not really all that disconcerting.”

Sophomore Morgan Stahl agreed that it was time for the school to change its hair policy.

“I feel like it is a really good idea because you get some personal expression,” Morgan said. “We already have uniforms.”

It seems that, as more students have come to school with hair dyed in various colors, that it is not causing any disturbances in the classroom, either.

“Since we’ve instituted this, I have seen several students come in with different hair styles, different hair colors,” Mr. Porter said, “and I have not received one complaint from a student, parent, or teacher.”

It’s business as usual—in brighter colors.

But it opens the door to more questions. Will other policies, such as the shoe policy, be revised as well?

“I really hope so because it’s not fair,” Morgan said.  “The shoe policy was strict at one point and in my opinion it was silly to be caught up in the little things when they can worry about other things like people being in the right uniform.”

But, when asked about further revisions to the shoe policy—long another source of frustration for students—Mr. Porter said that there is a culture at AMSA that he did not want the school to lose.

“I think we need to keep in mind that the people who started the charter school here wanted to establish a culture,” Mr. Porter said. “The uniform fit a culture that they wanted to establish that separated them from all the other local schools. We have a special culture here.”

Nonetheless, Mr. Porter said that the handbook will continue to be examined for possible changes and that issues will be handled on a case-by-case basis.


Staff writer Elizabeth Goldberg contributed to this story.