Friday, May 3, 2013

Students in hairy situation


By Megan Mobley
   Some students believe that the dress code at Ripley High is too harsh. Recent news stories from across the country have proven we are quit lenient. Some schools, along with their rules of dress, have rules for hair. We, thankfully, do not have any such rules.
   Recently, a 5-year-old kindergartener from Reid Primary and Middle School in Springfield, Ohio was suspended for his new haircut. The parents of Ethan Clos finally let their son get a mohawk after he had been begging for it all of Spring Break. When he went to school the next day, all of his classmates were running their hands through it. When the students failed to listen to their teacher’s reprimand, she went to the principal. Seeing what was going on, he took Ethan to his office and suspended him. Ethan was told not to come back to school until he “adopted a tamer style”. In this particular school’s rule, policy states that hair is not to be disruptive or distracting to the class.
   Rylee MacKay, a Hurricane Middle School student from Utah, was suspended after dying her brown hair auburn. Rylee was new to the school and didn’t have much confidence. After she dyed her hair, everything changed. Six months after the new ‘do her Vice Principal, Jan Goodwin, spotted her in the halls February 4th. In the school rules it says that all hair must be a natural color. To Goodwin, it looked “pinkish-purplish” in the light. Rylee was not permitted to return to school until she changed her hair back. Her mother refused to make her change it back.
   Federal law gives students freedom of speech, including dress and hair style. Only if the students’ style becomes detrimental to education or poses a hazard to safety are schools allowed to restrict it by law. For example, many schools have the rules that bra straps are not allowed to show and skirts must be a certain length above the knee to discourage distractions. While some students may see it as stupid, it really isn’t. If a girl’s bra strap is showing boys might not pay attention as to what is going on in class. Short skirts are never good around boys with raging hormones. Boys are not allowed to wear shirts without sleeves because girls might find them distracting.
   However, schools that have stricter rules and warn students ahead of time are within their rights. As long as they provide the school policy in advance to the students and the parents, beforehand, they are allowed to tell their students to change hair and more.
   Students at Ripley High may do anything with their hair as long as it is not a hazard. We have had students dye their hair red, blue, and pink. We have had many colors in this school and have never been made to change them. Students here believe that the rules are too strict, but clearly they’re not.
   We need to give our school some slack. They could enforce rules like Hurricane Middle and make us have a natural hair color. We can do pretty much whatever we want with our hair. We just can’t wear hats because they would be too much of a distraction. Most schools don’t allow that anyway. All in all, we can get away with a lot, to show individuality. We need to give our school more slack, we could be a lot worse.

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