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Marian Scott, 8, of Michigan, was told her red beard extensions were a abuse of the academy dress cipher and that she couldn’t participate in academy photos. Able columnist Jermaine Horton volunteered to drive nine hours round-trip to Michigan to booty her photo on Nov. 9.

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Marian Scott, 8, of Michigan, was told her red beard extensions were a abuse of the academy dress cipher and that she couldn’t participate in academy photos. Able columnist Jermaine Horton

Photo: Jermaine Horton Photography / Tribune News Service

Marian Scott, 8, of Michigan, was told her red beard extensions were a abuse of the academy dress cipher and that she couldn’t participate in academy photos. Able columnist Jermaine Horton volunteered to drive nine hours round-trip to Michigan to booty her photo on Nov. 9.

Marian Scott, 8, of Michigan, was told her red beard extensions were a abuse of the academy dress cipher and that she couldn’t participate in academy photos. Able columnist Jermaine Horton

Opinion: The little babe with bright beard is beautiful, but there are after-effects for breaking the rules

It is abundant that 8-year-old Marian Scott’s adventure had a blessed ending. She is a adored little babe whose alluring photo shoot was aces of the civic absorption it has accustomed back her adventure became public.

Marian wasn’t accustomed to acquire her chic account taken at Paragon Charter Academy in Jackson, Mich., aftermost ages because she came to academy with red extensions braided into her hair. Bright beard violates the school’s dress code, which states that “hairstyles charge be conservative” and that “hair blush charge be of accustomed tones.”

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It is a antic aphorism that stymies cultural announcement and represses individuality. Schools should be in the business of auspicious adolescent bodies to be themselves. Something as simple as a different hairstyle can anatomy confidence, and it poses no abuse to anybody else. Shame on Paragon Academy for declining to see that.

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Nevertheless, rules are rules. And the academy had every appropriate to stop Marian from accommodating in account day. She abandoned accounting directive, and there were after-effects for it. That’s how things are declared to work.

At Paragon, like it or not, beard requirements are a arresting basic of the academy dress code. Beard is as abundant a allotment of the academy compatible as bittersweet polo shirts and biscuit pants, and like clothing, acceptance acquire no best but to acquire it.

The handbook states acutely that acceptance charge be in academy compatible for abatement pictures and any retakes. It added states that acceptance not in academy compatible will not be accustomed to acquire their pictures taken.

Marian’s ancestor said the ancestors did not apprehend Marian’s hairstyle was adjoin the rules. Not alive that a aphorism exists is not a accurate excuse. Ignorance can’t be acclimated to absolve cutting red extensions any added than adage you didn’t apperceive the acceleration absolute gets you off the angle for speeding.

Real activity doesn’t assignment that way. And it shouldn’t in elementary academy either.

Accepting albatross is a difficult assignment for an 8-year-old. But it is a actual important one. All about these children, adults are consistently demonstrating how to clasp out of arduous situations by assuming to be naïve about the rules. In these advancing political times, arena apprenticed threatens to become an adequate allotment of American culture.

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We cannot acquiesce this to happen. And we cannot acquiesce our accouchement to abound up cerebration that it’s OK to angle the rules and again absolve it by claiming they didn’t apperceive they were angle them.

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In this case, the school’s rules were laid out succinctly in a 62-page document, calmly attainable online, forth with added rules banning sweatpants, earrings on boys, makeup, lipstick, affected nails, baldheaded heads, mohawks, mullets, anatomy piercings and tattoos, absolute or fake.

School, of course, is not a democracy, and accouchement don’t consistently acquire a say in how laws affecting them are bent and administered. But parents do.

If Marian’s mom and dad believed that the beard aphorism was abominable adjoin their African American daughter, they should acquire stood up and said so. Then, they should acquire gone to assignment on banishment the academy to change it.

Instead Marian’s parents took the accessible way out, which is what best parents would acquire done to assure their adolescent from added damage. Instead of abrogation their babe in a academy that did not acknowledge her cultural diversity, they accept to abolish her and accept her about else.

Unfortunately, that won’t absorber Marian from the countless bigotry she will face in the future. And it doesn’t board her with the accoutrement she will charge to angle alpine and advance herself anytime as an African American woman, strong, assured and accommodating to beating bottomward barriers that seek to acrylic her as beneath than that.

Marian’s father, Doug Scott, instead absitively to use the “they let white kids breach the rules” argument. I don’t agnosticism for a moment that there were two kids this year who took pictures with mohawks, and one had blooming in his beard — aloof as he said.

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That shouldn’t be a abruptness to anyone. Rules are generally burst to board white children. It’s amiss and it’s unfair, and it’s a accountability association has placed on the backs of every adolescent of blush in America.

But atramentous bodies can’t anguish about what white kids get abroad with. We acquire too abundant assignment on our easily aggravating to accomplish abiding that our own children, abnormally back the allowance are ample so aerial adjoin them, apprentice what they charge to apperceive in adjustment to abound up and become advantageous associates of society.

For African American children, abnormally in the academy setting, that agency afterward the rules alike if the white kid sitting abutting to them doesn’t acquire to. And for parents, it agency answer to your accouchement aboriginal on that their bark blush doesn’t allow them the affluence of acrimonious and allotment which rules to follow, whether it’s how to acknowledge back chock-full by the badge or selecting which genitalia of the dress cipher to follow.

The after-effects are added severe, and the abiding appulse generally is added damaging. It would be admirable to alive in a association breadth Marian never had to apperceive the truth, if she could aloof be a kid like every added kid.

Marian was advantageous that a able columnist from the Chicago breadth heard about her and absitively to acquire her pose, red extensions and all, for beauteous pictures that went viral on the internet. For her, this abhorrent acquaintance had a aerial ending. But that abhorrent aphorism about black beard is still on the books.

Dahleen Glanton is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

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