When 10-year-old Rachel Neeley told her father Charles why she was suspended from school, he “got the shock of his life.”
What started out as a fun Kool-Aid hair dye experiment at a sleepover has this student fearing for the future of her education. According to the 2012 video below, Rachel was sent home from Indiana’s Sunman-Dearborn Intermediate School with a note saying that she was not allowed to attend classes until the remaining Kool-Aid was washed out of her blond locks. In an interview with Cincinnati’s WCPO, Neeley says that his daughter’s suspension gave him “the shock of his life” and he was “aghast.”
The blue streaks in Rachel’s hair have proven to be incredibly stubborn, and she confesses that her biggest fear — if the dye does not wash out — is “that I’m going to fail the fifth grade.” In that same interview, Rachel says that school administrators carried out this punishment because the unnaturally colored hair was disrupting other students. “It makes me kind of sad,” she muses, “because they say it’s disrupting other children. … I don’t really think that’s reasonable.”
A subsequent interview with Neeley reveals that, after seeing evidence of repeated attempts to remove the Kool-Aid from Rachel’s hair, the fifth-grader has been allowed to return to school. WCPO spoke to Sunman-Dearborn Intermediate School Principal Chris Vennemeier about the controversy, who informed reporters that Rachel was never technically suspended because there was no official paperwork filed under “suspension” on Rachel’s permanent record. Neeley argues that the note clearly prohibits Rachel from returning to class until the blue has been completely washed out.
When asked about her stance on coloring hair, Rachel advises, “If you are going to dye your hair, dye it a natural color.”