Pink hair makes school see red
WHEN teenager Ashley Wallace decided it was time she had an image change, little did she know the troubles it would create.Unhappy with the bland range of natural hair dyes on the supermarket shelves, the outgoing 16-year-old instead opted for a daring shade of bright pink to compliment what she calls her "extravagant" personality.
WHEN teenager Ashley Wallace decided it was time she had an image change, little did she know the troubles it would create.
Unhappy with the bland range of natural hair dyes on the supermarket shelves, the outgoing 16-year-old instead opted for a daring shade of bright pink to compliment what she calls her "extravagant" personality.
But despite receiving the thumbs up from her fashion-conscious friends, unfortunately not everyone was impressed by the Northgate High School pupil's new hairdo.
Teachers at the school in Sidegate Lane, Ipswich, felt the colour went beyond what was accepted in its code of conduct, and sent a number of letters to Ashley's home urging her to change the colour.
After a number of unsuccessful attempts to convince the teenager to "go natural", the school decided to take a rather unusual course of action.
Rather than refusing Ashley a place in the official year photograph, the school instead arranged for her hair to be professionally airbrushed a mousy brown tint when the picture was developed - in keeping with its standards of appearance.
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"I got the photo proof back and when I looked at it they had taken someone else's hair from a different photo and had placed it on to mine," said Ashley, who's lives with her family in north Ipswich.
"I was so annoyed I went straight to my head of year. It doesn't look like me at all. They didn't ask my parents or ask for my permission. I was totally shocked. They said they had changed it to maintain the standard of presentation at Northgate."
Ashley, who is currently studying for her GCSEs, said she decided to dye her hair pink before Christmas.
Shortly before the February half-term holiday, the school arranged for the official Year 11 photograph to be taken and Ashley was told that she could be present if she tied her hair back.
But when the sample photograph was handed out to the pupils during lunchtime registration on Tuesday, Ashley could not recognise herself.
"We all got given out a mini photo as a proof so that we could make an order but we couldn't find me," she said.
"I went down to the school office where there's a bigger print and I looked totally different. It was a mousy brown hairstyle and I think they took it from my friend's hair, but it looked ridiculous because you could still see pink through it.
"All of my friends were saying what have you done to your hair. I was fuming to be honest."
Neil Watts, headteacher of Northgate High School, said: "We have been trying to resolve the issue of Ashley's pink hair since before Christmas. Initially we were assured that she would return it to a natural colour over the holiday, but since Christmas, despite trying to liaise and co-operate with Ashley and her parents, her hair has remained pink.
"We have not excluded Ashley from school, we have allowed her to attend normal lessons in the final year of her GCSE studies while trying to resolve the issue so as not to damage her education.
"We also did allow her to be on the photograph for the whole year group. However, we feel strongly that as the photograph is a record for the school and all the other pupils in the year group, Ashley's hair colour does not bring credit upon the other pupils and the school.
"As headteacher, I have to be aware of the messages we send to other pupils and fundamentally pink hair is not acceptable at Northgate."