School sends 2nd-grader home for sporting blue Mohawk

By The Associated Press
08.21.02

Mark Ashby Jr.'s hairstyle earned him one more day of summer vacation.

The 7-year-old turned up for the first day of school on Aug. 19 at Marrs Academy — an Omaha public school — and was promptly told to go home because his blue Mohawk was a distraction.

His parents have asked the American Civil Liberties Union to investigate the incident.

The haircut and color was allowed by his parents to reward him for good grades last semester.

"We gave him the Mohawk. He saw a picture of an Indian with blue hair. He wanted that, like the Indian," his father, Mark Ashby Sr., said.

The younger Ashby is one-quarter American Indian and wanted to celebrate his culture, the family said.

The school's principal called the hair color disruptive and sent him home until his hair is returned to a more natural color, the senior Ashby said.

The school district's handbook requires students to dress in a reasonable and appropriate manner that doesn't distract from learning, but leaves those standards up to individual principals.

The hair wasn't an issue when the boy attended summer school at another school in the district, his father said.

The second-grader was allowed back in school yesterday with no explanation from the district, but his parents said it was not fair that he was forced home on the first day of school.

The family is trying to transfer all three of its children out of Marrs Academy.