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Nine-Year-Olds Suspended For Haircut!

Nine-Year-Olds Suspended For Haircut!

What is it about hair that is so threatening to school administrations?

In January I gave you the update on 4-year-old Taylor Pugh, who in November had been suspended from his school in Texas because of his long hair. He was allowed back in January with the same long hair, but now styled in French braids that were close to the head and didn’t end in a ponytail. Apparently that was acceptable to Mesquite Independent School District Superintendent Linda Henrie.

Now it appears that chaetophobia ( a fear of hair) is not restricted to Texas.

Last Tuesday, nine-year-old twins Jorden and Jacen Edwards were taken out of their classroom in Columbia, Tennessee and hauled into the office of Connie Brown, the principal. There they learned that their matching haircuts had earned them matching suspensions from Randolph Howell Elementary School. Brown called their style a “gang haircut” and told the boys they could not return to class until they shaved their heads.

Suspended for a haircut? Really? The two fourth graders have identical buzz cuts with a curved line going along the left side of their head, from the forehead inward. As far as the twins and their dad, Paul Edwards, are concerned, the line is a part. The school, however, considered this line to be a gang sign, and the assistant principal signed paperwork stating that Jorden and Jacen were in violation of the school dress code. Edwards says he was told by the school, “They need to be shaved before we allow them back in school or they will stay in suspension until their hair grows back.”

According to the school dress code, students must not have symbols, numbers, or letters shaved into their haircuts. The school is located in Maury County, which has a system-wide dress code, but individual schools may choose to enforce it differently.

Bizarrely, the boys have been sporting these exact haircuts, with the line, since they were toddlers, so why the rush to punish now? After a one-day in-school suspension, and a day at home, the twins are back in school now, but their dad feels that the damage has been done.

Edwards wants those suspensions taken off school records, and he wants the adminsitrators involved to be reprimanded.

The stated Beliefs of Randolph Howell Elementary School start out like this: “Every child deserves every chance every day to feel and become successful.” But not if you have a part in your hair? Should there be a little proviso here?

Yet again, school administrators have failed to use simple common sense in their application of zero tolerance policies. As I’ve stated before, these policies should be used as guidelines. Every situation is different and requires intelligence and compassion in the determination of what the appropriate solution is. Wake up, administrators, stop throwing your weight around, and start addressing the issues that really make a difference. Like teaching the kids, maybe?

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Judy Molland

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157 comments

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8:45PM PDT on Sep 12, 2011

when i was in private school, a boy in our class got cancer and lost all of his hair, so all of the other boys shaved our heads to show him it was ok. we all got suspended (until our parents went in and raged).
'a person's hair style should not be the sole criterion for judging his philosophy'.

8:36PM PDT on Sep 12, 2011

A shaved head is more gangster-ish than the haircuts they had. How ridiculous.

8:57AM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

I give up. I cannot believe the amount of sheer bollocks that passes for correct PC practice in USA schools......is ANYONE in the administration in possession of an IQ in double figures? DO people have nothing better to do with their time than nit-picking totally ridiculous things like this haircut fiasco??? What a sad place the US is turning out to be....

11:34PM PST on Mar 5, 2011

Suspensions for hair styles have been going on a long time. Back in the 60's boys were sent home if they had long hair, then in the 80's they were sent home if their hair was too short (Mohawks and shaved heads), then in the 90's it was the color of their hair, now it's how kids part their hair. It seems that some people want everyone to look exactly alike, that stifles any individuality and creativity..things deemed "dangerous" by those that want a society of people that look/think/act alike.

6:38PM PDT on Apr 6, 2010

Until there is the willingness for those in power to get their heads out of their fatty tissue seat and admit that they might be jumping to conclusions, until there are those who will risk being told they are wrong, until people realize that they are no better than anyone else, this madness will, in fact continue.

3:38PM PDT on Apr 5, 2010

Ridiculous. Will the madness ever stop?

11:56AM PDT on Apr 5, 2010

I think the administrators were stupid, but there is a need for safety and awareness. If I've learned nothing else from this forum, I've learned that people need to look before they leap. Gut reactions get us nowhere. The truth is whether it's a hip hop or a rice eater, the only power symbols have is the power that the people who are reacting to it give it.

3:45PM PDT on Apr 3, 2010

If that cut looked to anyone, in any way, like a gang symbol I question them as a person who has any, even the smallest, knowledge in gangs and the signs, symbols that they use.

That is NOT A GANG sign or symbol, it is a HIP HOP symbol.

What these teachers and school officials lack is, sense and need a bit more education on what gang symbols look like, before they go on and just assume that because 2 little black-American boys have their hair cut this way, gives them the means to accuse them of being in, or affiliated with, any form of gang activity.

1:41PM PDT on Apr 2, 2010

Correction to my last post: "Institutionalized racism" only applies if a child of any race, other than the one these kids were,had the same hairstyle and did not get suspended.

3:22PM PDT on Mar 30, 2010

Zai, you would be correct if there was a white child who had the same hairstyle and did not get suspended. There is no data to support that...however that suspension was very ignorant, just like racism.

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