We're about a week or so into the new school year, and some problems are already coming up. In the small district of Alba-Golden, the dress code is getting a hair raising response from some parents and students.
"I just wanted my hair to have some more blonde in it," said E.J. Pope an Alba-Golden 7th Grader. "I haven't had it that way for a long time." E.J. did have more blonde in his hair, that is until his principal saw him yesterday.
"He said, 'Is your hair two colors?', and I said yes sir," said E.J. "He said, 'Well, you need to get it fixed before tomorrow.'" Rene Pope, E.J.'s mother, is also a hair stylist. She says she's been highlighting hair for 17 years and cannot believe highlights are against hair code.
"To me, highlighted hair is natural," said Pope. "Being out at the swimming pool all summer, you're going to get naturally highlighted hair." The Alba-Golden School District does not agree. The page titled "Hair Code" in their student handbook says "no student will be allowed to display unusual off-color hair, which includes coloring or bleaching of hair that is not natural hair color". The Alba-Golden superintendent says this has been a policy for years.
"We do not allow students to highlight their hair or color their hair," said Bill Stewart, Alba-Golden Superintendent. "When they come back in the beginning of the year, we tell them they need to take care of the highlight."
Having well-groomed hair is also part of their policy. This morning, Alba-Golden hired a hair stylist to cut those students hair that did not meet hair code.
"First Baptist Church Alba opened their doors and cut hair for students who could not afford to get their hair cut before school started," said Stewart. "We still have some who were not able to go get their hair cut, so we're providing them an opportunity to get their hair cut at no cost." Stewart says no student was forced to get their hair cut today, but it must be taken care of tonight before the student can return to school.
"Students have accepted it," said Stewart. "Parents have accepted it. It doesn't change. They know what it is and they abide that."
Rene Pope says not all parents have accepted it, but they have to send their children to school, so they do what the school tells them to do.