OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma mother is furious, saying her daughter is being denied an education because of the color of her hair.
Her daughter is a student at Emerson Alternative School, and has now missed three days of class because she dyed her hair red.
When Sarah Bonacci tried to go to school on Monday morning, she says school officials would not let her inside the building.
“They told her to leave because her hair color was not a natural color. She’s not allowed to wear red-colored hair to school,” said Vanessa Tucker, Sarah’s mother.
She called her mom after being confronted about her hair and told her what happened.
“She was crying, she was upset,” said Tucker.
Tucker contacted school administrators for answers.
“When I called this morning and asked if she could come to school, he told me she was not allowed on school property with her hair the color it is,” Tucker said. “He told me that he would go around to her teachers and tell them she is not allowed to get her school work until she gets her hair changed.”
Tucker says the assistant principal at the school told her Sarah knew the policy regarding hair color and defied it anyway.
Here is the exact page in the Emerson dress code in which it states, “Hair MUST be of natural color. NO RED, BLUE, PINK, PURPLE, etc.”
“I don’t think the color of a person’s hair should matter whether they are able to get their education or not. I could understand if it were blue or green but it’s red, more like burgundy, not like Ronald McDonald, how he referred to it,” Tucker said.
Tucker says she was also told by school officials that her daughter could come back if she wore a wig.
She says her daughter has already tried to dye her hair brown, but the red pigment was still visible.
“I’m very upset. I was actually in tears earlier. I just want her to be able to graduate this year and get her education, that she deserves ,” Tucker said.
Vanessa told us Tuesday that Sarah’s principal called her and apologized, explaining that she had been out of town for the past five days and was unaware of the situation until our story aired.
According to Vanessa, the principal said she did not personally see a problem with Sarah’s hair color and that the issue would be addressed. The principal also reportedly said Sarah’s absences due to her hair color will be excused and she will be allowed to do make-up work.
“Thank you for your time in helping so that my daughter is able to retain the education that she so desires to obtain,” Vanessa Tucker told NewsChannel 4.