A student in Sydney was not allowed to go on an advanced English field trip and could not be in a school photograph. What did she do to get such a punishment? Spray paint slurs on the side of the school? Burn an effigy of the principal? Not return a library book?
None of the above. She colored her hair a bright color.
What is normal? That's way too broad a discussion topic for this little website, but it is a question we should pose to our young. We should make them question the status quo, the conformity society often imposes. Make them find an identity.
What we should not do is take them out of learning environments for trying out a different look. Hell, the school even said she could be in the photograph if she allowed her hair to be digitally altered. How nice of them to allow her to look so normal for posterity.
I missed school uniforms in my south Mississippi school, if only by a year or so. But right before I graduated, a new superintendent started the process by mandating no tattoos, piercings, or "pastel colored hair." My parents had agreed, telling me in no uncertain terms to keep my hair the dirty blonde it was, but did not say anything when I used product to turn it a "normal" bleached blonde and later what Herbal Essences called "dark red maroon." The color it became could only be described as "red" in the most general terms. There are no pictures of this time that I have not hunted to extinction like the mighty dodo. Those pictures were the only consequence to my little rebellion.
A friend of mine was not so lucky. Steve (not his real name) had his septum pierced. The piercing was done at the house of a punk rock girl who was learning the craft. Don't be a guinea pig to an apprentice body modifier without supervision, by the way. The pretty cool ring in his nose got him kicked out of school because he could not take it out due to rust and swelling. He never graduated and while he went on to have a decent life, Steve was not the first person in his family to get a diploma like he wanted.
I wonder what Steve's life could have been if he'd been allowed to wear that ring, to be a kid who made a dumb decision to be a little different. I lament the future taken from him.
Steve and I went along after high school in our little punk rock community and made many more, long-lasting mistakes beyond a variety of hair colors. But we learned a lesson: if you step out of line of normal, authority will stomp you down.
That's a hell of a lesson to teach a child about hair color.