An 8-year-old girl was denied a class picture because of her hair

Latoya Howard’s 8-year-old daughter Marian couldn’t wait to show off her red extensions at school.“Marian had been wanting colorful braids for a long time,” Howard, 35, told TODAY Parents .So, the third grader was overjoyed when her mom finally agreed to let her wear the style for school picture day at Paragon Charter Academy in Jackson, Michigan on Thursday.
Marian Scott was not allowed to take a school picture because of her red extensions. Courtesy of LaToya Howard
Marian couldn’t stop staring at herself in the mirror,” said Howard, 35. “She kept saying, ‘Thank you mom!' over and over again.”
But Marian’s excitement quickly turned to sadness. When it was time for photos, the little girl was pulled aside for violating the picture day dress code.“Marian had to stand in the hallway while everyone was taking pictures,” Marian's dad, Doug Scott, told TODAY Parents. “They said she couldn’t represent the school.”
Marian Scott's parents describe her as a "happy" girl who loves singing and making YouTube videos.Courtesy of LaToya Howard

The parent and student handbook states that “hair must be of natural tones.” It even gives guidelines for headbands, noting that acceptable choices include solid white navy, hunter green or black.

Encourage your child to be careful when disclosing personal information. A simple rule for younger children should be that the child should not give out their name, phone number or photo without your approval. Older children using social networking sites like Facebook should be encouraged to be selective about what personal information and photos they post to online spaces. Regardless of privacy settings, once material is online you can no longer control who sees it or how it is used.

Paragon Charter Academy spokesperson Leah Nixon told TODAY Parents in a statement that the staff takes “great care to ensure families are well informed about this policy.”Nixon said an automated call went out to all families on September 29, reminding them about the code.

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But Howard and her husband, Doug Scott, didn't get the message and were unaware of the rule. Now that they are, they're working to get it revised .

Marian's hair is now back to black and she hopes to participate when retakes are done in November.

“My daughter is always happy, so to see her crying, it breaks my heart,” Scott said.

Local photographer Pamela Morris Lee is also hurting for Marian. After she heard about the story on a local news channel, she reached out to the family on Facebook and offered to take Marian’s photo for free.

“This is ridiculous,” she wrote, adding that schools should be focusing on “important things going on” and not hair .