A 16-year-old student at Surry County High School in Virginia, Kent McNew, thought dyeing his hair blue would be cool. So he did. He was wrong. Surry County High School forbids "unusual or unique hair colors, such as blue or green." He was suspended and had to dye his hair before returning to school.

Staff counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in South Carolina, Andy Brumme, had an interesting take on the situation: "Anybody who doesn't fit into a specific category or dresses differently or is considered a nerd or a geek, all of a sudden they're a suspect."

Don't make yourself a suspect- leave your hair alone!

Editorial Note: I hope my glaring sarcasm is apparent here.
Yeah, my high school is like that. And yeah, Metacognizant is right, private schools are exempt from observing students' rights. It is because they are a private organization that *allows* a student to attend. They may choose who attends and what the terms of that attendance includes, there are no set rules that ensure the induction of a person into the school. Hence the two types of schools: private and public. ((of course, another difference--in the case of CHS, at least--is the four thousand dollar tuition)) "Students who are allowed to attend are privilidged"((quote from a teacher)). These schools are there because of private funding and therefore have no need to follow ((some)) rules set up by local, state, or federal governments.

Just this year, a boy was suspended from Carroll because he came to school with his hair styled in a mohawk. He was not allowed to reenter the school until cut into a more *acceptable* style. Another example is a rule involving nailpolish.

No one, male or female, is allowed to attend Carroll High School with black nailpolish on their nails. The thing I find amusing, is that this is stated no where in the handbook. Amazing how they make these things up on the spot.

The entire reason for the existence of private schools is because some people are willing to pay money to put their children in a more controlled environment. The type of environment where they will (hopefully) get a better education, and stay closer to the values of the religion that the school is based upon (since most private schools are religious in nature).

The controlled environment that these parents are paying their money for generally does not include blue hair or any sort of student "originality" or "rebellion". The facts are this, most parents who send their children to private school do not want their children to have blue hair. Nor do they want their children to associate with people who have blue hair. These people are not paying their money because the private schools have better teachers (they usually don't), or better facilities (ditto). And they certainly aren't paying thousands of dollars so their children can go to school with "common street trash" (which is what any goth, punk, raver, or anyone with blue hair is going to be in the eyes of your average private school parent). They are paying their money for strict discipline in accordance to the rules of their given religion.

Now I am aware that there are no religions that expressly state "Thou shalt not have blue hair". But, it is one of those things that can be argued (or implied) from the religious works of at least the Judeo-Christian religions. This is something that will likely not change for a long time, if ever. Consider public school if you disagree, because private school and blue hair just don't mix.


A note to all you Britnoders out there.
In America, private schools are the ones you pay money for, and public schools are the ones that everyone else goes to (state schools).

A violation of civil liberties? A dress code? Call me old-fashioned if you will, but I honestly can't see the problem with teaching children and teenagers the need to conform to rules and regulations of an organisation.

In many countries outside the U.S. school uniform is compulsory for high-school students. There is a purpose to this completely beyond any question of liberty

Firstly it acts to prevent the cult of popularity that seems - both from nodes here, and from dramas set in US high schools - to be prevalent in American schools. Students cannot be categorised on the basis of the clothes they wear, social status is less apparent where everyone is dressed the same, nobody can make a 'nerd' or 'geek' or 'freak' judgement on the basis of a simple glance. Groups will form, of course, but their membership is fluid and tends to be based purely upon shared interests or approaches to life. There are few, if any pariahs. Most schools retain an 'in-group', of highly popular students but membership of it isn't sought in the same frantic way that it appears to me to be in the U.S. (from what I've heard and read), and exclusion is in no way a tragedy or a path to social ruin.

Secondly, it prompts a sense of identification with, and loyalty to, the school and a sense of pride in belonging to it. It fosters community spirit. I won't swear that it improves application and education, but my gut feeling is that it tends to.

Of course, everyone hates the uniform, but that, in its own way is unifying - the same rules apply to everyone, and dislike is directed at the clothes and not other students.

As a general rule, uniform regulations extend to jewellery, makeup and hair - at my daughter's high school for example the rules are:

  • No visible jewellery, apart from a single earring in each ear and a watch, and a medical alert bracelet/pendant if necessary.
  • No make-up of any kind.
  • No 'unnatural' coloured hair dye.
  • Hair longer than collar length to be tied back.

Perhaps this hampers her personal expression; but I don't feel so, and nor does she - it's simply a rule to follow, and certainly doesn't get in the way of her primary reason for being at school - to get an education. Of course, nor would blue hair, or multiple piercings, but the judgements and misjudgements of peers resulting from decisions of this kind might.

Finally, as a preparation for employment, these kinds of rules, which impact in such a small way on personal "rights" are invaluable - and everyone has out of school time to express their wildest inner natures, after all.

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