Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hair We Go Again...

It seems like we were discussing the Mesquite school district's dress codes on this blog just a few weeks ago. Oh yeah--we were.

But this time, it's not something as new as emo pants, but rather the latest volley in a game that's been going on for decades: Hair length on guys. But what makes this one especially goofy is that the "guy" in question is a pre-kindergartner:
Four-year-old Taylor Pugh, in prekindergarten at Floyd Elementary School, likes his hair long - just below his ears and along his collar in the back. He likes it longer in front.

That length is outside the school district's dress code so the boy has been having lessons alone in the library. And his mother says the district has said he will be kicked out of school completely on Tuesday.

"He only goes two and half hours a day. He's not a distraction. He doesn't get teased," his mother, Elizabeth Taylor, said.

She spoke to the Mesquite school board Monday night, asking for help with her dilemma. But the board could take no action because the item was not on the agenda.
I love that last sentence--bureaucracy at its finest.

In case you're wondering--yes, Taylor does have some Native American blood, and his father wears his hair long (though the playing of this card is negated somewhat by Taylor's short-haired older brothers). But thus far, Mesquite refuses to give him a pass on that (the ACLU has gotten involved, for better or worse).

As you can imagine, the comments are running strong on both sides in the DMN blog post linked above, though it alarms me how many people just blindly accept the "rules are rules" idea, no matter how idiotic the rules in question may be. Such nice little sheeple they'll make! Perhaps the best points are brought up by a commenter who goes by the name Squanto:
1) This is a gender biased rule. Why must boys wear short hair? Hair grows on both males and females, period. This is not corporate America, if the kid decides to work on Wall Street then he will need to conform in order to be rewarded. And wear a tie, a strip of material that has no function.

(2) If there is an ethnic reason, that it is an indigenous practice, it's time for Mesquite to grow up. There is no reason boys must wear their hair short. There's no biological reason, it's culturally conditioned conformity.

(3) Making him learn apart from his peers is "shunning." That is an old Protestant practice used to make non-conformists conform.It has nothing to do with rules and regulations that are debated openly by community members.
Indeed. Let me reiterate something that I said in the "emo pants" post:
Look--I understand the arguments from the other side: Kids need to learn how to obey rules; they're in school to get an education, not show off their fashion sense, blah blah blah. (And the worst one of all: They're never going to get a job in the business world if they don't dress more nicely. Never mind that many kids will never set foot in the business world, and, as I've said before, with some of the things that have happened on Wall Street in recent years, I'm not so sure that we should be holding up the business world as a role model in the first place.)

But it seems like those in charge should pick their battles a little more wisely. I still believe that there are a lot of kids out there--not the extremely smart kids, not the thugs-in-traning, but the big, big middle--who wouldn't mind school so much if it didn't seem as if the administration weren't throwing roadblocks at them every step of the way.
Blogger "Hall Monitor" of (who became familiar to me after visiting The Musings during that earlier post) also posts about this and offers the following:
Once again, the length of a child's hair becomes the center of our education woes. If only every student would come to school with a neatly-trimmed haircut, we would be able to start focusing on the other problems our schools face. After all, it's a well supported fact that NO ONE with long hair has ever been successful.
Heh--well said. (And did anyone notice that the kid's hair just really isn't that long? This is much ado about nothing, methinks.)

By now, it probably goes without saying that I have a solution to the problem of administrative idiocy...and wouldn't Mesquite be a great place to start this practice?

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