Osceola Co. student forced to miss class over hair color; Father wants to see policy change



ST. CLOUD, Fla. - An eighth-grade student in St. Cloud was given an in-school suspension for putting a pink highlight in her hair.

Her dad said she was relegated to suspension hall and missed her classes for the entire day because school administrators considered the hair disruptive to learning.

The eighth-grade honors student’s father, Josh Hensen, said she wanted to try something different so she put a pink highlight in her hair.

“All the adults around her were supporting this. They didn't think it was a big issue,” Henson said.

Administrators at Neptune Middle School in Osceola County thought it was and gave the student an in-school suspension on Monday.

“It wasn't a crazy mohawk or crazy color so she is a little confused about why it happened,” Hensen said.

A district spokeswoman emailed Channel 9’s Ryan Hughes and cited the code of student conduct, implying the girl broke the rules because her hair was unnatural.

The policy states, in part, “It will be a violation of this policy for any student to have his or hair colored in such a manner, or extreme fashion, that the principal determines it to be distracting or disruptive.”

Some parents thought the punishment was extreme while others argue the school was just following its own policy.

“Without policies and without rules, you can do whatever you like,” one parent said.

“With today's society so many things are going on in the world - hair color is not that major,” parent Nikesha Walker said.

Hensen said school leaders never gave his daughter a warning about the hair and they took her out of classes for a day instead.

The middle schooler has since changed it back to her natural color and Hensen thinks the district should consider changing its policy.

The district couldn't talk specifically about the student due to confidentiality laws