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Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 16:43 GMT
School airbrushes pupil's pink hair
Ashley Wallace
Ashley says she was not informed of the decision
A Suffolk schoolgirl had her pink hair airbrushed out of her year group photograph because teachers said the colour was incompatible with school uniform.

Ashley Wallace, 16, claimed she had dyed her hair pink to complement what she said was her "extravagant" personality.

Ashley Wallace (marked) in the school photo
The photographers changed the colour of her hair on the picture
But the head teacher at Northgate High School in Ipswich asked the photographers to change Ashley's pink hair to a mousy brown colour on the finished photograph.

Ashley has complained she was not informed of the decision.

"I felt humiliated about it, it's just such a personal insult," she said.

"My friends were shocked and thought it was awful and couldn't stand it and are just as upset.

"The school has told me to change the colour but I'm not going to, I'm going to keep it this colour forever," she said.

Reasonable

Head teacher Neil Watts said the school had been trying to resolve the issue of Ashley's hair since before Christmas.

Despite his liaising with Ashley and her parents, her hair had stayed a pink colour, Mr Watts said.

"We have acted very reasonably - we have not excluded Ashley from school, we have allowed her to attend normal lessons in the final year of her GCSE studies," he said.


Ashley's hair colour does not bring credit upon the other pupils and the school

Neil Watts, head teacher
And the school had not excluded her from the photo, he added.

"As head teacher I have to be aware of the messages we send to other pupils and fundamentally pink hair is not acceptable at Northgate," Mr Watts said.

"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.

"Therefore we asked the photographic company to tone down the hair colour in the photograph."

The school had high standards, which he intended to maintain, he added.

Ashley's stepfather, Chris Andrews, said: "We are fully behind Ashley's decision to have that colour of hair.

"We do not feel it's going to be detrimental to her education and her future plans to be a website designer."

See also:

21 Dec 00 | Education
Dreadlock ban 'violates rights'
15 Mar 00 | Education
Boy's bleached hair sparks school row
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