Japanese Teen Sues After Being Forced to Dye Her Brown Hair Black to Conform with School’s ‘No Dyed Hair’ Dress Code

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An 18-year-old woman in Osaka, Japan, is suing the local government after being forced to dye her naturally brown hair black to conform with the school’s “no dyed hair” dress code.

Many schools all over the world have dress code policies against dyed hair. But according to Sora News 24, this girl’s school dress code prohibited the use of bleach or hair dye, and in practice that meant all students had to have black hair. That caused problems for this student, because her hair is naturally brown. She says she’s been forced to dye her hair black since junior high, and she hated it. She says the dye damaged her hair and irritated her scalp. Eventually, what she describes as institutional bullying from the school’s teachers and administrators got so bad she stopped going to school.

Some schools in Japan have created a “Natural Hair Color Registry” system, specifically to prevent this sort of thing from happening. The registry allows students to get a certificate saying their hair color is natural. They’d have to carry the certificates around, but at least it helps the students prove their hair color is allowed. This girl’s mother says she asked the Kaifukan High School in Habikino City if that was something they could do, but they did not have that option.

She says school staff effectively bullied her out of school because of her hair color, which was against dress code.

The student says she was warned by teachers and administrators almost weekly, and it got worse as time went on. By her second year, she said she was getting warnings every four days. She says she was prohibited from taking part in festivals and field trips, and one time a teacher even asked if she was dying her hair brown because she has a single mother.

The girl says she has not attended school since September of last year, when a teacher told her that if she wasn’t going to dye her hair black, she might as well just not come to school. So she stopped going. In April, the school reportedly removed her from their list of students and told other parents she’d been expelled.

She’s suing the Osaka prefectural government for about $19,000 in damages, on the grounds that bullying from the school cost her her education.

The school is asking for the suit to be thrown out. In its defense, it says that even if a foreign student with naturally blonde hair enrolled, they’d make her dye her hair black, too.

What do you think of this school’s policy? Let us know in the comments.

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(Image: iStockPhoto / dimid_86)