When 8-year-old Marian Scott was turned away at her school's picture day, she was devastated. Scott, a third-grader at Paragon Charter Academy in Michigan, was told her red hair extensions violated a school policy, according to WILX-TV, which first reported her story in October.
The girl's father, Doug Scott, was outraged that the school didn't contact the family about Marian's hair. "This is uncalled for ... they didn't even call us," he told WILX-TV. "Marian didn't leave the house, go down the street and go get this done on her own. She's 8 years old. We did this ourselves in our own home, and there's just no way that I felt like this would happen."
According to the school's handbook, students' hair color must be natural tones to get their picture taken. However, Scott feels the school could have handled the situation better. "If they at least would have reached out to us and said, 'Hey, come get her, she's got a hair issue, we need you to change it, that's not allowed, I could show you in the handbook,' they didn't even go to those extents," he said. "They let her stay in school ... so if she's not a disruption to the class, then why is she a disruption to the picture?"
The school told WILX-TV a recorded message reviewing the dress code was sent before picture day, but Scott said he didn't receive it.
The family planned on having Marian's pictures taken on the school's retake day this month, but the Scotts' story went viral. A Chicago-area photographer reached out to the family with another option.
Jermaine Horton said, as a parent, he was furious when he heard their story. "The first thing I thought about was the impact of what this would do to such a beautiful little girl," he wrote on his photography business' Facebook page. Horton reached out to the reporter who first covered the story and got the Scotts' contact information.
He then drove from Chicago to do a special, empowering photo shoot for Marian in Michigan. What made the shoot even more special is that the clothes were donated by designers, which "truly made Marian feel so special and appreciated," Horton said.
In the photos, Marian is the symbol of boldness and strength. In one, she flexes her arms, looks up and appears to be yelling. "I asked Marian to express how she felt to let her emotions out ..... She screamed right at the ... light above and I got this!" Horton wrote in the powerful photograph's caption.
"Im so blessed to have been apart of this to give her an amazing day that showed her that she truly is beautiful and her hair color was the BOMB! Of course we kept it for the shoot!" Horton wrote.
When her confidence was at its lowest point, several photographers reached out to Marian to boost her up. And for a third-grader, that meant the world.