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Holli Deal Bragg - Now, hair’s the problem ...

Holli Deal Bragg - Now, hair’s the problem ...

Holli Deal Bragg - Now, hair’s the problem ...


  When it comes to school dress code, I am all for keeping hemlines decent, banning offensive T-shirts and making kids pull their pants up.
      When I was in middle school, head bands were a fad. We couldn't wear them because we might hide drugs in them. I understood that.
      But why in the world does a Mesquite, Texas school care that a 4-year-old has long hair?
      If a little 4-year-old girl had long hair, it would be OK. But disciplining a kid - suspending him from school - because his locks are long is just downright ludicrous.
      According to the Associated Press, the Floyd Elementary School dress code insists "boys' hair must be kept out of the eyes and cannot extend below the bottom of earlobes or over the collar of a dress shirt"
      Hair styles or other fads that are "designed to attract attention to the individual or to disrupt the orderly conduct of the classroom or campus is not permitted," the policy states.
      But how does long hair distract? If it doesn't distract on a girl, it won't on a boy. In this day and age, boys wear long hair all the time.
      The school has been keeping the kid in a type of disciplinary move called "in-school suspension." Instead of being allowed to learn and interact with his peers, he is kept alone in the library with a teacher's aide.
      The school decided the boy could wear his hair in tight braids. What? A white boy wearing braids is more unusual than his having long hair, so what is the school trying to prove?
      The boy's mother declined the "offer," saying to braid her son's hair in tight braids would make his scalp bleed and break the hair. She said a ponytail would work, but that didn't ease the suspension.
      The school district in Mesquite explains the code demands short hair on boys because "students who dress and groom themselves neatly, and in an acceptable and appropriate manner, are more likely to become constructive members of the society in which we live."
      Just who decides long hair is not neat and acceptable? I know several "constructive members of society" who are men and have long hair.
      I say the school district is stepping over the line.
      First of all, the order is discriminatory. A female child can have hair as long or longer, because some school board member or other official imposes his or her opinion of what is "acceptable" in the manner of hair styles.
      I could see it if the boy wore a Mohawk to school. I could see a school protesting against students - male or female - wearing wildly colored streaks in their hair. But a 4-year-old child whose long brown curls don't even brush his shoulders, hardly touch his shirt collar, is not that big a "distraction."
      Is this about hair at all? No! It's about control. While the school system has a right and a need to maintain control of some things, a child's hair length is not one of them.
      I wonder how much money has been spent on frivolous and senseless fights like this. It seems more and more, people jump on the defense (or offense) over silly things.
      Last week, I learned a local gathering spot is not being allowed to use outdoor fire pits because of city code.
      The fires are contained, and add to the charm and allure of the popular spot, where people gather to eat, socialize, listen to music and play games. It also bring warmth to an outside area.
      If the business had bonfires, I could see the issue. But small fires in closed fire pits? Where is the harm? What is the sense in banning things like this? So, if I live in the city, I cannot have an open flame in my grill on my back yard deck?
      Silly little rules.
      Why do people feel the need to micro-manage others? If I were the Texas kid's parent, I would need a stronger defense than the one given. If I wanted my child to wear long hair, and it meant that much to me, why should I cut his hair to please someone else?
      Why should that boy's parents cave in to a "dress code" that mandates someone else's preferences? If a girl wanted to wear her hair in a short-cropped style, likely no one would say a thing. Then, why such a fuss over the boy's hair?
      How will this affect this little boy? Will his peers heckle him because of his parent's firm stand against the school? At four years old, will they care? Would any of them have ever even noticed the boy's semi-long hairstyle, which is so common these days?
      In a nation where they have to print warning labels on coffee cups, why am I surprised?

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 489-9414 or by e-mail at hbragg@statesboroherald.com.

 

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