North Texas

Weatherford Student Fights to Have Green Hair at Graduation

A Weatherford High School student studying cosmetology was surprised to hear she couldn't walk across the stage at graduation because of how she does her own hair. But something changed after NBC 5 started making calls.

Julie Zanti is 18, she's about to graduate high school and she knows exactly what she's doing next.

"I just want to make people feel beautiful and feel amazing about themselves," Zanti said.

She studied cosmetology through Weatherford High School's vocational program for a career in hair styling.

"I remember sitting on my bed when I was 13 years old, trying to paint my hair purple because I was like, 'Wow, this is so cool, you can change yourself with just a few chemicals,'" Zanti said.

But now her school wants her to change.

"I am not able to walk at graduation with my hair being an unnatural color," Zanti said.

Administrators asked her to dye it or wear a wig. They told her best friend Kattie Brewer the same thing.

"I felt like I was being singled out," Brewer said.

And Zanti's mother, Jamie Welch, didn't like the school's explanation.

"It's distracting to have green hair at graduation and it might be, in a word, offensive for other people to see that," Welch explained. "They've let her have the hair for two years, they shouldn't ask her to change it for one night."

The school district did not return NBC 5's calls for comment but they did call Welch back Tuesday night, saying they'd done some more research and since Zanti's had her hair dyed for several months and they didn't catch it earlier, she will be allowed to walk. They're still requesting that she change it.

So far there's no answer for Brewer, or any other students affected.

But to the girls, this is about much more than hair.

"The self-expression behind it," Zanti said.

Brewer added, "I just feel like they're not letting us be ourselves."

On a day that should celebrate how far they've come, they say this goes back to a grade school lesson.

"You really shouldn't judge people by the way they look," Zanti said.

NBC 5 will keep checking with the school district to see if they're now planning to let everyone walk the graduation stage.

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