Their vivid pink, blue and green hairstyles may have had one city headteacher seeing red – but SNP MSP Marco Biagi views pupils’ colourful coiffures in a very different light.
Boroughmuir High head David Dempster warned students who dyed their hair in bright colours they may not be able to go on school trips, such as visits to the Scottish Parliament.
But now Mr Biagi, whose Edinburgh Central constituency includes the school, has sided with the youngsters – and is offering anyone banned from a visit to the parliament because of their hair a free lunch and tour of Holyrood. He said: “Freedom of expression is a normal and valuable part of development. Teenagers react badly to rules that are inconsistent or unfounded.”
The Evening News revealed yesterday that Mr Dempster had told pupils that he didn’t want them sporting brightly dyed hair when they were representing the school. He has issued a warning that if they want to dye their hair it should be in natural colours only – black, brown or blonde.
But Mr Biagi branded the idea of banning pupils from visits “a bit excessive”.
He said: “They are not representing the school, they are participating in an educational activity offered by the school, and I would not want educational opportunity to be withheld based on the colour of their hair.”
He also pointed out that some senior figures in public life, such as Midlothian South SNP MSP Christine Grahame, were not averse to bright colours.
He said: “I know someone who regularly wears pink and purple streaks in her hair – and she’s convener of the parliament’s justice committee. I don’t think showing a bit of character holds people back – in fact, I’d say the opposite is the case.”
Mr Biagi posted on Twitter: “Dear Boroughmuir High, any student you exclude from parly visit for dyeing their hair I offer lunch and personal tour.”
Asked if he could be accused of undermining the school’s authority, he said: “The school is in the constituency. I’m giving my views, as I’m entitled to do and as parents and pupils are also entitled to do. Boroughmuir’s a school, not the army. I think on reflection the school might reconsider this.”