PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Tatiana Perdomo, 10, spent two years wishing for blue hair. About two weeks ago, her mom, Audrina Crawford, made that wish come true by taking her to get her hair dyed.
After six hours of work, her brown hair was transformed into shades of teal and blue.
“She nearly cried, and she jumped out of the chair and hugged me,” her hair stylist, Haley Holmes, said. “So I think she loved it. She was pretty excited about it.”
However, her teachers at Palm Bay Elementary School did not approve.
The charter school’s rule book states, “hair must be neat and clean with no ‘unnatural’ colors”. The family was not aware of the policy beforehand and felt it was buried deep in the handbook.
“Something that can get a child expelled from school should be on the forefront of the rules,” Tatiana’s father Glados Perdomo said. “Like we should know, without a doubt: If we do this, she’s out. We didn’t know.”
Although the policy states hats and bandanas are also banned, Tatiana was advised to wear a headwrap for as long as her hair is dyed blue or enroll in a different school.
“So we’ve decided to fight. She’s decided to fight because I gave her the option to dye her hair back or not,” said Glados. “She didn’t want to because she felt like it kind of killed her freedom of expression. So we stood behind her.”
She’s opting for fashionable head wraps for the time being, even though her classmates are making fun of the headwear.
Audrina took to social media with a Facebook video that’s now gone viral. She also posted an online petition that now has more than 11,000 signatures.
Other children are even chiming in with support by dying their own hair unnatural colors.
“We’ve had great support through this whole thing,” Audrina said. “Everybody is like backing us on it. They’re saying that they feel like the rule should – the policy should be adjusted. It’s an older rule. It’s been like 11 years in the handbook.”
She argues that it’s a freedom of expression all kids deserve to have.
“When you’re already wearing a uniform, the only little bit of freedom that you do get is, you know, through your hair, your shoes or your backpack,” she said. “And so everybody’s pretty much on the same page of ‘Let’s push forward and try to get it changed’”.
Audrina is taking her petition with her to the Palm Bay school board meeting Thursday at 5 p.m., where a change of the rule will be voted on.
Meanwhile, Principal Patty Philips released this statement to News13:
“Like many charter schools, Palm Bay Elementary School has a uniform and grooming policy that is intended to promote student safety and discourage distractions from a focus on learning. Parents are asked to sign acknowledging these policies. As a school of choice, parents may decide if Palm Bay Elementary is the best school for their child.”
If the school board does not vote in Tatiana’s favor, she says she’ll continue to conceal her hair color through the end of the school year.
“I’ll keep my hair blue,” she said. “I’ll keep it covered up. But I’m just really glad that we tried. We did our best.”