Student’s laws suit triggers hair-raising responses
TOKYO >> Around 80 percent of prefectural high schools in Osaka have requested students whose natural hair color is not black to report their original color in a recent survey by the Osaka Prefectural Board of Education.
The board was seeking to grasp the scope of regulations regarding hair color following a lawsuit filed by a high school student in Octo ber. In the suit, the student is seek ing about $19,560 in damages from the Osaka Prefectural Government claiming her school demanded she dye her naturally brown hair black as a condition to attend classes.
The survey, conducted at 137 high schools, found 109 schools, asked students whose natural hair color was not black to verify their real hair color. Of the total, 74 schools sought verbal confirmation while 35 asked for written documentation. Ninety-three percent of schools had regulations forbidding students from dyeing or bleaching their hair.
Of students who violated the rules, 38.7 percent were forced to leave school until their original color was restored.
Naoki Ogi, an education commentator and Hosei University professor, called the strict rules a violation of human rights.
Ogi noted that many high schools have asked students to submit photographs taken when they were in kindergarten or elementary school to confirm that they are not lying about their natural hair color.
An 18-year-old teen filed a lawsuit in late October against the Osaka prefectural government, claiming that her school had ordered her to dye her naturally brown hair black if she wished to continue attending classes.
The student developed a rash and scalp irritation after dyeing her hair repeatedly but her teachers continued telling her that her hair was not black enough, the petition said. The school also has a policy that prohibits students from dyeing their hair.