News

Teen describes 'discrimination' of school's hair policy

School girl Morgan Major says her hair colours help her to cope.
School girl Morgan Major says her hair colours help her to cope.

A YEAR 12 student has spoken out against what she claims is discrimination at her school over her brightly coloured hair.

Morgan Major, who attends Kepnock High, said she dyes her hair as a way to cope with mental health issues but has been prevented from attending school and says she'll miss her formal because of it.

"I have been suffering with anxiety and depression which has caused me to develop body dismorphic disorder," she said.

"This means I am too uncomfortable in my own body and find relief in cutting, burning, bruising or somehow modifying myself.

"I have seen various physiologists and they have all denied me medication to help ease the symptoms because I am too young."

Miss Major said she was able to find some solace in colouring her hair, rather than engaging in more harmful pratices.

"I found that the easiest way for myself to be comfortable is to simply dye my hair," she said.

"I started dying my hair and I found it was a replacement for my self-harm," she said.

Miss Major, who has since made her hair a natural shade so she can go back to school, said she realised there was a policy in place, but her colours were about coping, not fashion.

"The dyes I use may be colorful but they're not damaging to my health or education, if anything it encourages me to learn because I feel better in my multicolored skin," she said.

Do you think schools should relax their policies on hair and clothes?

This poll ended on 27 September 2014.

Yes, there's nothing wrong with freedom of expression as long as it's nothing crude - 23%

No, the rules are there for a reason - 66%

It depends on the individual circumstance - 10%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

She said her request to have her coloured hair accepted at her school had been rejected.

"I have told the school this multiple times and have told the principal, deputy principal and counsellor and have been pushed away and ignored by all three," she said.

Miss Major said she was never actually suspended from school, but was prevented from attending for a number of days which meant she would miss her Year 12 formal.

"I'm not invited to prom any more because of those few days," she said.

"I said I felt I was being treated unfairly and they said to deal with it," she said.

She said she had always made an effort to make sure her hair was a natural colour for school photos and other special occasions.

But Kepnock High principal Jenny Maier said the school remained firm on its policy which prohibits non-natural hair colours.

"We have a very clear uniform policy," she said.

"Extreme hair colours and styles are not accepted at our school."

She said the policy was developed in conjunction with the P&C.

"It's also aligned with Education Queensland," she said.

Miss Major said Ms Maier had told her the school's reputation was her biggest priority.

"(I) asked if she would rather I come to school with cuts up my arm than have coloured hair, she replied that she did not care what I do to myself so long as she could not see it," she said.

Dress standards, while they may be aligned with Education Queensland, are decided on by individual schools.

 

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