Marlborough’s administration has changed the hair dye policy to allow students to dye their hair different colors starting this semester. Previously, Marlborough students and faculty were unable to dye their hair unnatural colors. One of the students who spearheaded this policy change was Mikaela ‘21. Mikaela said she was inspired this past summer, when she and her friends were unable to dye their hair pink and blue out of fear of receiving conduct infractions at school.
Mikaela said she was especially empowered by the values Marlborough was trying to embrace heading into the new decade.
“We’re doing a lot of things surrounding ‘fun, fearless, female’ as well as inclusivity, and I thought this change in the hair color policy would really fit in with the direction Marlborough is trying to take,” Mikaela said.
Mikaela first went to Head of School Dr. Priscilla Sands, who directed Magtoto to Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Assistant Division Director Regina Rosi Mitchell. Rosi Mitchell agreed to aid Mikaela in spearheading the policy change and was glad to see a student take steps towards changing the dated hair dye restrictions.
“That rule has been around for a really long time and had never really been challenged before,” Rosi Mitchell said.
From there Mikaela began a more comprehensive proposal process. Magtoto worked with Rosi Mitchell as well as Honors Research in Science Program Head Dr. Allison Ponzio throughout the process. Mikaela surveyed the student body about their feelings toward the previous policy and their interest in instating a new one.
Then she analyzed the responses and, two weeks before the end of the semester, used them in a presentation to the “Dean Team,” which includes all grade level deans, Director of Educational and Counseling Services Dr. Marissa Crandall, Middle School Psychologist Morgan Duggan, Rosi Mitchell, Dean of Student Life, English instructor Brett Quimby and Associate Head of Academics and Director of Upper School Dr. Laura Hotchkiss ‘86. One week later, Mikaela was notified of their unanimous approval of her proposal. After that, Mikaela announced via email the news of the change in policy to the Marlborough community.
Among the supporters of this change in hair dye policy is visual arts instructor Kathy Rea.
“It’s important that students be able to express themselves, and hair color is an easy one. It’s harmless and not permanent,” Rea said. “We should be rewarding students for their work ethic, character, and positive values, not hindering their self-expression, or worse, punishing them for such an innocent form of assertiveness.”