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A Russian school administration faces a civil probe after banning a 15-year old girl from attending class because she had pink hair and a modified version of the uniform. A local ombudsman described the incident as discrimination.
The story began on September 1, the beginning of the current school year. A member of the legislative assembly in Perm, in the Urals Region, wrote on her Facebook page that her 15-year-old daughter was not allowed to attend classes because of her looks which the school administration described as “inappropriate” – the girl had her hair dyed pink and wore her own version of the uniform.
The lawmaker said that the school administration allowed her daughter to return to studies only after she changed her appearance to fall into line with the rules.
The story has been widely advertised by mass media and sparked a big reaction on social networks. The Human Rights ombudsman for the Perm Region, Pavel Mikov, said that treating pupils differently depending on their hair color amounted to discrimination.
As a result, local prosecutors looked into the incident and eventually launched a civil case against the school and its director on charges of violating or restricting a citizen’s right to free universal education. In Russia, the offence is punishable by fines of up to 200,000 rubles (just over $3,000) for schools and up to 50,000 rubles ($757) for executives responsible for the decision.
Prosecutors found that Russian law doesn’t allow a school administration to set any norms concerning a pupil’s appearance and that a student cannot be banned from attending classes as punishment.
They officially recommended that the school changes its rules and sent a warning to the deputy head of the regional administration in charge of public education.
In subsequent Facebook comments, the girl’s mother welcomed the decision, but emphasized that she had not asked for prosecutors’ to become involved. She also said that her daughter had been allowed to resume her studies.
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