Just because you don’t like a rule doesn’t mean you don’t
have to follow it — this is especially true for kids in their formative years
who need to learn about deference, discipline, safety, health and integrity.
Sorry if we don’t eat cupcakes for breakfast, but that rule is in place for a
reason (although, let’s be honest, a chocolate-chip muffin is really just a
cupcake in disguise).
Schools have lots of rules that kids may not like, such as
no smart phones in class or smoking cigarettes on campus. The rules might be in
place to help ensure kids pay close attention or not endanger the welfare of
themselves or those around them. But no matter why the rules exist, they need
to be respected.
Who knows why the Muscle Shoals school system in Alabama has
a rule against “distracting” or “disruptive” hairstyles, but the fact is that
they do. Hayleigh Black, 16, apparently didn’t know that, because if she did,
she probably wouldn’t have chosen to dye her hair red. On the first day of
school this year, she was sent home for having hair “‘too disruptive’ to remain
in the building.” Except this year marks the third one in a row that Black has
colored her hair a “vibrant” shade of red. However, this is also the first time
it has ever been an issue with school administrators.
It remains unclear how a head full of red hair would be detrimental to anyone’s safety or distract from enhancing their knowledge.
According to ABC
News, the Muscle Shoals superintendent said the rule is in place to
“provide a safe environment conducive to learning.”
It remains unclear how a head full of red hair would be
detrimental to anyone’s safety or distract from enhancing their knowledge. The
school’s principal said the policy “very rarely ever comes up as an issue,” but
there have been girls in addition to Black who’ve also been sent home for their
Black dyed her hair to a less distracting color after the
incident so she wouldn’t miss too much school, but her mom told ABC that since
then, “She’s been a little down. She misses her hair color.”
“She's a kid,” her
mom said. “I dyed my hair when I was her age. I was excited it was that, [that]
it wasn't a tattoo that she wanted or piercings, or something. There are so
many girls that do it and there could be worse things. As long as she's a good
student, hair is the least of my worries.”
good news seems to be that this is, in fact, one of the school’s biggest
problems. According to the Board of Education in Muscle Shoals, the
school places in the top 10 districts in the state for reading and math test
scores, parental support is strong, and it’s not unusual for 90 percent of high school
students there to go on to college.
If students at
Muscle Shoals want to express their personal style in a way that doesn’t show too
much cleavage, sleeve tattoos, unusual body piercings or excessive leg
— and they’re getting good grades — shouldn’t the school be supportive?
There are real problems that real
Black, however, is not a real redhead. Her choice of hair color should not be a
real problem. Yes, she broke a rule. But if this is the school’s ugliest issue,
it would seem that they should celebrate the beauty of that fact instead.