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One Mississippi high school student is working to change his school’s policies after he was suspended for dyeing his hair pink.
Timothy Jenkins, a freshman at Gulfport High School, says he was given multiple warnings to change his hair back to its natural color after he showed up to school a few weeks ago with the brightly colored locks.
“I think it might have been against her morals for a male to have pink hair,” Timothy, 14, told TODAY about a school administrator. “I’ve seen boys at our school with blue hair and bright red hair and girls with all different colors. They’ve never been asked to change their hair.”
The Gulfport School District released the following statement and told TODAY they had no additional comments:
"The Gulfport School District has a policy that requires students' hair to be clean, neat, and a natural-looking color.
The policies of the Gulfport School District are handled in an openly vetted process that includes business leaders, parents, students, and educators. Action Teams review the polices of the Gulfport School District annually and provide guidance for policies that govern our school district."
The teen’s mother, Sheryl Jenkins, claims both her and her son’s rights had been violated. She said she had no choice but to make her son dye his hair back to its natural color after he was suspended.
“It’s ridiculous that a school can dictate a kid’s hair color,” Jenkins explained. “That decision should be left up to the parents.”
Timothy, who wants to become a massage therapist one day, started a petition to change his school’s policy after a teacher at the school urged him to research his rights.
He currently has received more than 265 signatures.
“I learned a lot about the First Amendment and what my rights are,” Timothy explained.
“I hope this helps change my school's policy, but also maybe lets other kids at any school know they have rights.”
Bethany Mason, a friend of the teen who also attends Gulfport High School, told TODAY she had blue hair and was never asked to dye it back to it’s original color until after Timothy was suspended.
“I think it’s really cool that he’s taking a step to make a change for something he believes in,” Bethany said. “So many students at our school are supportive of what he’s doing. I hope he reaches his goal with the petition and the rules are changed.”