Opportunity for self-expression opened through policy change

By Kaylee Anderson

This year the NS school board changed the handbook to allow students and teachers to dye their hair unnatural colors as long as they do not represent the school through a club, sport or a leadership position.

Many students have already acted on this opportunity and can be seen walking the halls with hair of almost any color in the rainbow. This is one way students can now express their personalities.

“It shows people who I am and that I don’t care what they think about me,” sophomore Kylee Davis said. “This is a way that I can express myself by saying that I like this color and this is how I like to have my hair.”

High school is often the place where we try new things and discover more about ourselves. This new change allows students to explore more with how they look.

“I think it does give students a little leeway and it allows them to experiment,” said NS Principal Nan Ault. “I think there is nothing wrong with colored hair. I am not offended by that at all, but also when you work for someone though, and you represent that organization then they do have standards for you. Whether you work for NASA, the government, Adobe or whoever, you need to understand that they may ask you to meet a certain standard. We felt that if you are going to represent NS then you are going to showcase that in a way that is professional.”

With this change there are limits and restrictions for hair coloring like there are for the school’s dress code.

“I think there are always trends in a school and you have to try to create a boundary that is safe for all kids,” Ault said, “and that is why the dress code exists. We tend to be a very traditional community, so you create a boundary that represents that. Then when those trends roll through there, they push against that just a bit.”

For some students, they dye their hair for fun or because they just like the color, but for others it has more meaning behind it.

“For my personal life it helps with my family. It also expresses against domestic violence because that is what the color purple stands for,” sophomore Daytona Hansen said.

Many students are excited by this change, but there are still some that think students should be more professional.

“Times definitely have changed,” junior Natalie Day said. “People are more into being your own self, so that change helps with that, but it can also be a distraction in class like the reasons before, so I don’t necessarily think they needed to change it.”

More teachers would consider coloring their hair if there wasn’t a stigma against it for being unruly.

“If it was not considered an unprofessional thing, I totally would have colored hair,” said NS teacher Jori Turpin. “Even in high school I thought the reason of that it’s distracting was kind of a cop-out because I never felt like I couldn’t pay attention in class if someone’s hair was red. I thought it was just a way for schools to have an air of professionality, but for the students it wasn’t that big of a deal.”

How teachers present themselves often sets the tone for how the school is run. Even though they are allowed to have colored hair, it could still give the impression that they are too casual for their job.

“If it was super bright and obnoxious, I could see how that would be considered that you aren’t taking you job as seriously as others,” Turpin said. “If everyone had crazy hair it would set this attitude that anything goes.”

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