Back in October, an 8-year-old girl was denied her school picture because of her red hair extensions. Yes, you read that correctly. And in response to this upsetting decision, a photographer named Jermaine Horton reached out to the elementary school student's family to organize a professional photo shoot. The results? A confident, special, and incredible little girl got her opportunity to shine.
As a former teacher, I remember picture day as an exciting time for kids to show off their personalities, whether through their clothing or hair. So I was definitely crushed upon learning the story of Marian Scott, an elementary school student in Michigan who was denied having her school picture taken because of her red hair extensions, as CNN affiliate WILX first reported.
"She called us in tears," Marian's father, Doug Scott, told CNN. "She wore the extensions to school before and they never told us anything, so it was surprising to us that this was the first time we were hearing it was a violation of the school's dress code." As for the code, it dictates students must have hairstyles "of natural tones" to get their picture taken, according to People.
Can someone help me out and explain to me what constitutes "natural tones?" And why administrators are so concerned with the color of a young child's hair? Seems there's more pressing areas of concern, no?
Paragon Charter Academy, where Marian attends school, did not immediately respond to Romper's request for comment regarding the incident and its dress code.
Marian's story touched many people, including Horton, who is a dad himself. “When you’re a father, you see it different,” the owner of Jermaine Horton Photography explained to SheKnows. “You say, ‘What if this was your daughter?’ Everything, everybody is numb now, another school shooting, another [tragedy]… You want to be a beacon of light and hope.”
So after reaching out to Marian's family, Horton drove three hours from his home in Chicago to gift the special student a free professional photo shoot. The photographer also brought his two young kids along to make Marian more comfortable, telling SheKnows, “It was really good. Her energy at first was apprehensive, but then they were [all] doing Fortnite dances, listening to Ariana Grande. Her confidence just popped.”
Speaking of Marian's confidence "popping," Horton's stunning photos show her in powerful poses, including one with her fist raised. Standing against a backdrop of splattered paint and donning a colorful dress, Marian holds her head high and stares confidently into the camera.
In another shot, Marian poses for mock school photos, wearing a red pullover to compliment her dyed hair extensions.
It's also worth nothing all of Marian's cool clothes were donated by designers, adding another layer of kindness to this story.
It's unfortunate Marian had to experience a disappointing school picture day in the first place, as any child should be allowed to express themselves through their hair. But the upside is she was able to connect with Horton, who has since launched the Art of Confidence Project, an initiative to "empower our youth and restore their confidence."
So keep shining, Marian. And know your many supporters are cheering you on.