Does unnatural student hair color really affect their classroom learning environment?

Opinion By MeghanBartness

Green hair in math class? Pink hair in history? Purple in theology? Those are all sights that you won’t see at Marian. For years, Marian has had a no non-natural hair color rule. Most people never really think about it but for those that do, it can feel like a restriction on their personality. I’ve never thought about this rule until I wanted to dye my own (naturally brown) hair red. This made me realize that many students don’t ask why the rule is in place.

When you’re sitting in class, does your hair color really affect your learning? Personally, I don’t think it does. I don’t believe that the girl next to me with pink hair would make it harder for me to learn the quadratic formula, or for my own hair to block my learning of the U.S. government. Out of a Google survey with responses from 130 Marian students, 97.7% agree that their own hair color would not affect their learning. From the same survey, only 6.3% believe that someone else’s hair color would affect their learning.

Illustration by Elisse Eisele

I talked to two seniors with different points of view on the issue. Gigi Shoemaker said, “I think it’s important for people to be able to express themselves. However, crazy hairstyles and colors can be a distraction in class. I think the Marian boundaries are well within reason.” 

 While on the other hand, Elyse Kirke said, “coming from someone that dyed their hair pink in the summer, I think we should because it can extend our personality outside of our uniform.”

When talking to Mrs. Kris Hennings, our dean of students, while she wasn’t the one who created the rule, she can understand why it’s in place. She said that Marian encourages girls to come to school as their natural selves. Marian wants their students to know that they don’t need to change themselves to fit in at Marian. She also made note that the purpose of school uniforms is to create a level playing field.  

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