High school student sent home because her hair was ‘not a natural color’

Posted at 1:22 PM, Mar 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-11 13:22:34-04

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- A high school student in St. Louis was sent home because her hair was "not a natural color" and violated the school's dress code.

Savannah Keesee, a junior at West County High School in St. Francois County, spent Tuesday at home in Irondale because of her hair color.

“She just wanted it a little bit different. We had a bunch of snow days, and did some girl stuff and dyed her hair,” Savannah’s mother, Sheri Keesee, told KTVI.

The permanent auburn dye turned Savannah’s natural red hair a little brighter than expected, but Savannah says she didn’t expect the principal to object.

“He goes, 'Your hair is really bright.' I said, ok, he goes, 'You need to call your mom and have her come pick you up,'” Savannah recalled. “I tried to go back today and he said I couldn’t stay because my hair was still the same color.”

Savannah was told her hair violates the school’s dress and grooming code.  According to the school handbook, “Non-natural hair colors will not be permitted. For example, green, purple, blue, etc.”

Savannah's mother insists she dyed it auburn.

"Auburn to me is natural, just like strawberry blonde or blonde, or black or brown,” Sheri Keesee said.

West St. Francois County Superintendent Stacy Stevens declined to comment on Savannah's situation, but he said the hair color policy has been in place for decades.

“We try to work with the students to be fair," Stevens said. "We don’t want them out of school, we don’t typically have issues with this policy. I think our students and parents are accepting of it. It’s been in place a long time, and I think it’s a policy that works."

Savannah hopes the school district will work with her, especially since the dye will probably dull over time.