Billie Halford, 13, is an year eight pupil at the Ringwood School, (Ringwood, Hampshire UK). The teenager was pulled out of class and isolated for dip-dyeing an inch of her hair ends Manic Panic Pink, a vibrantly intense semi-permanent fuchsia.
Dip-dyed, also known as the ombre look, is a fashionable trend that celebrities like Christina Aguilera have made popular. Only sections or tips of the tresses are dyed a different hue or color from the rest of the hair. It can either give a gradient or gradual effect, giving the hair a faded look, or make a bold statement when colors not found in natural hair are applied.
Billie's new look violated the school's dress code, as girls are not allowed to have "unnatural styles" regarding hair, according to Headteacher Christina Edwards of the school. As punishment, Billie was subject to isolation. Edwards explains:
"Our rules state that hair should be traditionally styled and extremes of fashion such as shaved hair, beads, braids, unnatural tints, dyes and highlights are not acceptable. If a student arrives at school with inappropriate uniform or appearance arrangements are made to continue with learning in isolation. At the same time, contact is made with parents to arrange to resolve the problem."The Daily Mail reports how the punishment is doled out. During isolation, pupils are removed from mainstream education and are taken to a learning center. They complete their studies between 8:45 am and 3:20 pm in isolation until the problem is resolved with parents or guardians. The child is set work by class teachers to complete in isolation under supervision of support staff. Breaks are permitted for 20 minutes at 10:55 am and 45 minutes at 12:50 pm, but pupils in isolation must not mix with other students.
Billie's mother, Leah, 39, is outraged over what she calls an act of bullying. She asserts that her daughter is a model pupil and has dyed her hair in the past without reprimand. Isolation punishment involves pupils being put in a separate room for the day where they can be seen by their classmates outside but are not permitted to engage with other students.
Education Views reports Leah removed Billie from the school until the matter is resolved. Leah argues the choice of punishment:
"Isolation would be an appropriate punishment for naughty children, not for something as minimal as this. I was informed and went into the school to speak to the teachers but they said she would remain in isolation until the color was gone, but it takes eight weeks to wash out ... Billie doesn't get into trouble and she does well in school, but she was put into isolation in a corridor where everyone can see them and wasn't allowed to socialize at breaks. I thought it was a bit extreme and thought the school could have handled it differently, perhaps telling me to rectify it …If it was all pink I could understand, but I didn't think a temporary color would make a huge difference. I think it's bullying. They are saying their pupils can't have individuality."Although the dye would take up to eight weeks to fade, Leah has since stripped the pink color from her daughter's hair and Billie is due to return to school.
[Image: brand of hair dye]