JACKSON, Mich. (WILX/Gray News) - After 8-year-old Marian Scott was denied a school picture at Paragon Charter Academy for having red braid extensions in her hair, her story went viral.
Dozens of photographers, including one from Chicago, reached out to her and her family, offering to give her photo shoots to help rebuild her confidence.
“It was fun, you got to pose and change clothes and got to be yourself,” Marian told WILX.
At this week's photo shoot, she got be herself and proudly wore her red braid extensions, the same ones that kept her from getting her school photo taken in October.
Although her confidence shines in the photos, it took a lot to get here as Marian says she felt she lost a part of herself back on school picture day.
“I could feel it go,” Marian said.
This ultimately led her parents to pull her from Paragon.
"It started off great there, and we got to third grade when this happened, it was enough," said her father, Doug Scott.
Jermaine Horton was one of the dozens of photographers that saw her story. He drove hours to put on a professional photo shoot and gave her a new wardrobe donated by Joy Entertainment & Event Management and Mieka Joi, CEO of Rich Girl Candy.
"Confidence is a process, especially when you are rebuilding someone's confidence, especially a child because they are so fragile, so we want to make sure that she feels great that day, but also going forward that it's ongoing and she still feels that support," said Jermaine Horton, owner and photographer of Jermaine Horton Photography.
Both Marian and her family are forever grateful for both the positives and negatives throughout this whole experience.
“Thank you,” Marian said. “I appreciate it and I love the support.”
The Paragon Charter Academy handbook does say that students' hair color must be natural tones to get their picture taken.
But the course of action if a student shows up with colored hair is unclear. It left Doug Scott confused and frustrated when Marian was told she couldn't have her picture taken, but could return to class.
"With the negativity it was like...I asked myself, 'Should we have done this?'" Doug Scott said. "I tell myself everyday, 'You should have done this because it's only going to get better,' and hopefully we are going to be able to deal with these situations in schools better in the future."
Doug Scott hopes to continue the conversation on equity in school policies with more forums and panel discussions within the Jackson community.