Orange County student who dyed hair blue could face suspension

Student says dean giving her until Friday or she could face suspension

ORLANDO, Fla. – Erin Shaffer said she helped her 12-year-old daughter Olivia color her hair over the weekend to get into character for a school play at Discovery Middle School.

"I think it's kind of dumb. It shouldn't really matter about your hair color," Olivia said.

"She's a good student. She volunteers daily. She's in drama," Erin Shaffer said.

Before this Olivia's hair was brown. She asked her mom if she could dye it blue since she's been rehearsing to play the part of an eel in the Little Mermaid.

It wasn't until Tuesday when the dean pulled her aside that she knew something was wrong.

"He was like, 'You have options about this. You can restore your hair to it's natural color and it won't be an issue,'" Olivia Shaffer said.

She said the dean gave her until Friday or she could face suspension.

"I consulted the (Orange County Public Schools) handbook before letting her color her hair and I couldn't find it anywhere in there," Erin Shaffer said.

In the Orange County Public School Code of Conduct, it doesn't specifically say anything about hair color under dress code, but it does say schools are encouraged to extend their own standards to meet the uniqueness of their school community.

"How do you have change in fluctuation, between school to school to school? I mean, we have how many schools within a 10-mile radius?" Erin Shaffer asked.

She said her daughter's hair color shouldn't matter. Just to dye it back could damage the hair, but that's not the point.

"It's more blocking my education than it is any other student from getting distracted by it, and them calling me out of class to go there," Olivia Shaffer said.

"Pick your battles, you know. These are our kids, and worry about the things that are important, worry about making a good impact on them and molding their minds," Erin Shaffer said.

The school district said Discovery Middle did expand the dress code to restrict hair color that is a distraction, but it's still unclear if that could lead to a suspension.

They told News 6 they're looking into it.