Ashley Davis said she just wanted to be herself.
But officials at the 13-year-old's middle school in Orangevale, Calif., ruled she went a little too far when she added cotton-candy pink highlights to her long blonde hair, and slapped her with a two-day suspension.
"It's a great form of self-expression, not that we were trying to push the envelope or anything," Ashley's mom, Sandra Chavez, told the Sacramento Bee.
It wasn't as if her daughter tried body piercing — in fact, the highlights were easily washed out.
"I thought it was one area where we can compromise. I didn't think it would offend," said Chavez, a teacher at nearby Natomas High School. Chavez says she teaches kids with worse hair and no one says a word.
"It's a great form of self-expression, not that we were trying to push the envelope or anything," Chavez said.
But rules are rules, so when Ashley came to school with her new do, she was shown a passage in the dress code that requires "Hair color must be natural."
And while Ashley agreed to launder out the pink, it's not washing out as fast as Chavez would like, and she wants her daughter back in school.
"As long as we could tell she is making progress toward a more natural color, she can come to class," Principal Trish Baldwin told the newspaper. Baldwin, the newspaper reports, is a honey blonde.
"At one time," she joked, "it was my natural color."