#1 By: Rob Beschizza, October 4th, 2013 09:27
#2 By: chgoliz, October 4th, 2013 09:34
Three of his relatives were diagnosed with cancer. THREE.
What if it had been him? Would going through chemo (and thus losing his hair) have caused the same reaction from the school administration?
There are not enough &(#^$!@^!%@ keys on the keyboard for me to express my feelings on this situation.
#3 By: Theo Grace, October 4th, 2013 09:43
I agree with the school. Whatever the cause the school had policies the child was aware of and he disobeyed them. Had he gained permission for the fundraiser there would have been no problem, but instead he disregarded rules and did whatever he wanted.
This is not some ridiculous action from the school. Had he lost his hair he wouldn't have been voluntarily and flagrantly disregarding school rules.
Should we allow all kids to voluntarily go shaven headed in case they get chemo and lose their hair?
Or perhaps we should excuse all behavior of all children going who have relatives with cancer? Or is it just excusable because he has 3?
I accept that it is sad and he is probably struggling. But that doesn't exempt him from breaking rules.
#4 By: Keith_Ulysses_Welch, October 4th, 2013 09:45
For some reason schools seem to attract this sort of petty tyrant.
#5 By: Christopher Waldrop, October 4th, 2013 09:49
Experience has taught me that I sometimes overreact to a story like this only to later learn that there are details that make the school's actions understandable, even if they still come across as a bit extreme.
Experience has also taught me that sometimes school administrators are unreasonable assholes.
#6 By: Donovan Acree, October 4th, 2013 09:53
Rules? What kind of rule is 'no shaven heads'? Does this mean that Buddhists, Vaisnava, or members of the Hare Krishna movement are not welcomed at this school? Bah! This movement towards quashing individuality and forcing the blind acceptance of authority as 'right' is disgusting. These institutions do not create better citizens but instead churn out mindless yes drones with little capacity for creative and novel thought.
In any case, this ridiculous rule is being applied inappropriately and without tempered judgement.
#7 By: Preston, October 4th, 2013 10:00
“God save the Queen and her fascist regime … a flabby toothless
fascism, to be sure. Never go too far in any direction, is the basic
law on which Limey-Land is built. The Queen stabilizes the whole
sinking shithouse and keeps a small elite of wealth and privilege on
top. The English have gone soft in the outhouse. England is like some
stricken beast too stupid to know it is dead. Ingloriously foundering
in its own waste products, the backlash and bad karma of empire” ―
William S. Burroughs, The Place of Dead Roads
#8 By: Kimmoth, October 4th, 2013 10:02
The petty authoritarianism here is heinous yet unsurprising.
I have to say, I am heartened by 250 students walking out in sympathy.
IMO that's the buried lede - this is a good news story!
#9 By: shutz, October 4th, 2013 10:03
Edit: made a stupid mistake in the first sentence, which I just corrected.
When I started reading your post, I thought you were being ironic and satirical, but when I got to the end, I realized you were being up-front. Wow.
The "rules are rules" argument is not a defense for the school administration. This is as stupid as "zero-tolerance" policies.
The only thing this student is guilty of is not checking with school administration before getting his head shaved. But it looks like such a stupidly rigid administration would not have granted an exception to the rules, anyway.
The reason rules and laws get so complex and unwieldly over time (requiring lawyers and judges to get involved, when complexity reaches a certain point) is that no rule or law can ever be written which addresses every possible situation and contingency. And that's why zero-tolerance and rigidity is ultimately stupid.
Here, we have a clear case of a student doing a lot of good, while breaking a rule. And his breaking the rule has virtually no negative consequences, other than the visible example of breaking that rule. This is a clear-cut (pun intended) example of a case where an exception should have been granted.
Rules and laws are not set in stone for all eternity. They are meant to adapt with the times, with society. But for this to happen, you need people to challenge those rules, otherwise, all you get is stagnation.
#10 By: Kimmoth, October 4th, 2013 10:05
I think a necessary condition for authoritarianism is the lack of intelligence required to see this as self-evident.
#11 By: IMB, October 4th, 2013 10:07
We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.
#12 By: Jeff, October 4th, 2013 10:07
It's a shame that more administrators miss these obvious "teachable moments" in order to demand that people follow the rules.
Here's a kid with trying to show empathy and support for others or acting out by breaking rules and shaving his head because things are a little fucked up at home. The entire student body knows about it.
An alternative route would be to talk to him for a minute and then actually spend an hour engaging the student body and talking with some cancer patients to help students deal with loss and some serious shit they're going to face when they get out in four years.
Or they can just suspend him and miss a chance. One requires thinking out of the box and the other is "just following rules." Tough choice.
#13 By: Joseph Ratliff, October 4th, 2013 10:13
This is a situation where the Principle needed to look at the context of the situation, realize this policy for "haircuts" is probably not applicable, and support the student in their support of the folks that have cancer.
Instead, we have a school Principle who is holding true to what is probably a policy created when crew cuts were popular in the NFL (that's what we call the "old days"). Your hair is an expression, not a definition of who you are.
So now, instead of doing the right thing, supporting the student and changing a seriously outdated hair policy... well... you know the rest.
#14 By: Suzanne, October 4th, 2013 10:13
The only reason I can think of why a school would ban bald-headed children is if there is some kind of neo-Nazi thing going on in their area - the way some schools ban hats or certain colors of shirts.
#15 By: Mister Smith, October 4th, 2013 10:19
Simple explanation about what the school did: Skinheads, people. You know , walking symbols of UK working class racism? And please hold your mumblings about anti-racist skins. I've know several of those, and they usually just hate everyone, not just minorities. Is every last person who is going to respond to this a parochial American?
I'm American and even I know how loaded a racist symbol a shaved head can be in the UK. In fact, I once had a British man of south Asian origin lose his shit at me because he made assumptions about me because I had a crew cut because I tried to cut my own hair and fucked it up. And this was in the US. It was fairly innocuous a conversation from my perspective. He asked how long until I could have his business cards ready (I worked for a printer) and I said a half an hour. He called me a racist asshole and stormed off. My boss caught him, calmed him down and found out that because I had not much hair he assumed I was a skinhead. This is like schools here banning Confederate battle flag t-shirts. Think beyond the impulse to outrage.
#17 By: Jolly Rogerer, October 4th, 2013 10:23
The anonymity thing is deplorable but increasingly the standard policy for government and corporations. The general idea is that spokespersons speak for the organization and are not expressing a personal opinion, therefore their names shouldn't be attached to official communications. Not do they personally want to be associated with unpopular stuff. IIRC even BBC spokespersons operate under this rule.
My main problem with this is that it makes organizations appear faceless, distant and uncaring. It also gives cover to people in charge who anonymously leak information, because it perpetuates the notion anonymity is acceptable and furthermore you might not always catch that it wasn't an official comunique but some slimy spin doctoring.
#18 By: Mister Smith, October 4th, 2013 10:26
This was in Wales. Not a big NFL market, if I remember correctly.
#20 By: Joseph Ratliff, October 4th, 2013 10:35
You got me there , so I guess I'm now using an American example to illustrate my point.
#21 By: Whydoncha, October 4th, 2013 10:49
In the United States, this issue was largely settled by the landmark 1969 Supreme Court decision in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District
#22 By: TheMetalPedant, October 4th, 2013 10:52
You do realize that "Someone who looks like this did something bad, therefore all people who look like this are probably bad" is one of the "classics" for explaining why prejudice is O.K., right? The gentleman who lost his shit at you for your haircut was wrong to do so, in the same way that assuming a person with tattoos (that aren't offensive symbols like swastikas) and piercings is a degenerate druggie. A human head without hair is not, in and of itself, a symbol of malice. It's something that happens in nature all the time for a lot of different reasons.
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