Latoya Howard’s 8-year-old daughter Marian couldn’t wait to show off her red extensions at school.
“Marian had been wanting colorful braids for a long time,” Howard, 35, told TODAY Parents.
So, the third grader was overjoyed when her mom finally agreed to let her wear the style for school picture day at Paragon Charter Academy in Jackson, Michigan on Thursday.
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“Marian couldn’t stop staring at herself in the mirror,” said Howard, 35. “She kept saying, ‘Thank you mom!' over and over again.”
But Marian’s excitement quickly turned to sadness. When it was time for photos, the little girl was pulled aside for violating the picture day dress code.
“Marian had to stand in the hallway while everyone was taking pictures,” Marian's dad, Doug Scott, told TODAY Parents. “They said she couldn’t represent the school.”
The parent and student handbook states that “hair must be of natural tones.” It even gives guidelines for headbands, noting that acceptable choices include solid white navy, hunter green or black.
Paragon Charter Academy spokesperson Leah Nixon told TODAY Parents in a statement that the staff takes “great care to ensure families are well informed about this policy.”
Nixon said an automated call went out to all families on September 29, reminding them about the code.
But Howard and her husband, Doug Scott, didn't get the message and were unaware of the rule. Now that they are, they're working to get it revised.
Marian's hair is now back to black and she hopes to participate when retakes are done in November.
“My daughter is always happy, so to see her crying, it breaks my heart,” Scott said.
Local photographer Pamela Morris Lee is also hurting for Marian. After she heard about the story on a local news channel, she reached out to the family on Facebook and offered to take Marian’s photo for free.
“This is ridiculous,” she wrote, adding that schools should be focusing on “important things going on” and not hair.
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