UPDATE: Bellevue ISD student who was suspended over hair color gets to return to class, keep dyed hair

Bellevue ISD student who was suspended over hair color gets to return to class, keep dyed hair

BELLEVUE, Texas (TNN) - UPDATE 2-22: A Bellevue ISD student who was suspended for dying her hair gets to return to the classroom after a ruling by the school board. The student will also get to keep their hair dyed.

The Bellevue ISD school board Monday night to discuss a ‘Student Discipline Hearing(s)’ for high school senior Abigail Ratliff. Ratliff dyed her hair back in late January what she described as an auburn red color. School officials believed it violated the student dress code. This lead to Ratcliff’s suspension, which a day after this originally story aired, was modified to in-school suspension.

Ratcliff’s family appealed the punishment, believing it to be too extreme. Now after Monday’s school board ruling, the family got their wish. The board overruled the superintendent’s punishment, meaning their daughter can keep her hair dyed and return to class.

The school board has now instructed the superintendent to form a committee that includes Bellevue residents to review the district’s dress code for next year and see if changes should be made.

Bellevue ISD suspended for dyeing hair

A Bellevue ISD student was suspended from school Monday for the color she dyed her hair. The student’s family says the district believes it violates the dress code.

“I feel like I have been let down by my school,” Abigail Ratliff said.

Abigail dyed her hair back in January, she describes it as an auburn red. It was a color both Abigail and her mother believed to be within the district’s guidelines.

“I did not think it would cause this issue and so that’s why I allowed her to change her hair color,” Candi Ratliff, Abigail’s mother, said.

But that did not end up being the case.

“On Friday afternoon I received an email from the principal saying that if her hair was not changed by Monday that she would be disciplined,” Candi said.

Monday morning Abigail was removed from class and told she was suspended for the rest of the week. A punishment her parents feel is too extreme.

“We inquired about in-school suspension and the principal stated that no, it had to be out of school, that it can’t be any other way, which we felt was an unfair escalation,” Rob Ratliff, Abigail’s father, said.

Monday night, Abigail’s parents were told by district officials that they will allow Abigail to do in-school suspension for the rest of her week long punishment. The family plans to appeal the punishment all the way up to the school board.

“The principal and superintendent don’t have my back and I feel let down and disappointed,” Abigail said.

Abigail says she’s not had issues with dyed hair before. Recently, she says, it was dyed blue and the district allowed the color to fade. Later she ended up coloring it black.

Bellevue ISD’s Student Handbook has this section which refers to hair color:

  • Non-natural colored hair (green, blue, purple, orange, etc.) is not permitted.

The family believed it leaves room for interpretation and would like changes to be made.

“You have to take a stand sometimes because even sometimes the little can lead to bigger things and I don’t want to see anybody else to get discriminated against,” Candi said.

The Bellevue ISD superintendent says that he cannot comment on this incident due to student privacy laws.

Any student handbook changes would have to come from the school board.

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