VIC Rights to Dye Hair at School?

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17 July 2014
I am currently attending [Educational Institute Name Redacted].

During the term 2 holidays I chose to dye my hair green. I made this decision on the basis that I believed it would be acceptable due to many people at the school having their hair dyed an unnatural colour as well. Now I have been Informed that after I dyed my hair this colour, the college policies have been reinforced. I am a well presented student and my hair is always neatly tied back as requested. I do believe this policy is inconsistent throughout the college, as not all people with unnatural coloured hair have been approached eg. Ombré , dip dye, dark plums, reds, purples, blues, etc.

Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
Melbourne, Victoria
Hi Georgia,

In general, schools are allowed to make and enforce rules about the appearance of their students. This includes, amongst other things, piercings, uniforms, jewellery, facial hair and hair dying. Private schools and religious school are usually more strict about appearance and conduct rules. This is because private schools are private institutions that are able to make their own rules about appearance and conduct, to a greater extent than public schools. Religious institutions are also tolerated for making rules going towards a particular religious doctrine or belief.

However, even state schools are generally allowed to make rules about hair dying of students and other appearance and conduct matters, and enforcement of these rules, and sanctions if these rules are broken, are generally supported by the Department of Education.

Schools have discretion as to whether or not to enforce rule breaches, as well as discretion in deciding what constitutes a rule breach. Schools may also be occupied with other matters so as not to enforce all rule breaches immediately. This would explain some discrepancy in your school's approach to hair dying by other students. In any event, just because a school does not enforce a breach by one student, it does not mean it has waived the rule altogether. Unfortunately, Thomas Carr College appears to be able to enforce sanctions for not complying with school rules. Being an honour student may be taken into account in relation to what sanctions/options they give you, but it certainly does not take away from Thomas Carr College's right to enforce such sanctions.

If you have more questions, you may ask your Department of Education directly (I believe you are in Victoria?): Victoria contact.

This page from the Victorian Department of Education will also help: dress codes, grooming and physical appearance and general presentation of students.

Tim W

LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
28 April 2014
You have two questions running in parallel.
The right or wrong of dyeing your hair a non-natural colour,
and, separately,
the fairness or otherwise of enforcing a rule on you but not on others.
It may help avoid confusion if you consider each one separately.