School dress codes and their gray areas are often a cause of headaches for parents, administrators, teachers and students. To avoid distractions and disruptions, many schools – even public schools – have adopted uniform policies. But, how far is too far when it comes to students and their freedom of expression?

Officials in Delaware’s Christina School District were forced to ask themselves that question last month when sixth-grader Brianna Moore showed up at school with freshly-dyed pink hair. Moore received the hair coloring from her parents as a reward for bringing up grades. School officials initially ruled that the hair color was a violation of the school rule regarding unnatural or excessive hair color and Moore was told she could not return to classes at Shue-Medill Middle School with pink hair. After talks between the school district’s attorney and the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware, Moore was permitted to return to school without changing her hair color.

According to a recent USA Today article: “She is not going to be suspended tomorrow, next week, next month, etc., for the pink hair,” the district’s attorney, James McMackin, wrote in an e-mail to ACLU attorney Richard Morse. “District policy does not apply with regard to the hairstyle at issue.”

How strict is your school’s dress code? Is it strongly enforced?

Brianna Moore, 12, returns home from school on Tuesday in Newark, Del.
Photo by Suchat Pederson, The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal