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Hair Length Paramount for Promoting “a positive learning environment.”…but only for Boys

A Rapides Parish, LA 5th grader’s suspension from school due to his hair length has been upheld by the three person School Board.  According to the policy, hair may be no longer than chin length in the back or 3 inches on top for male students.  It seems at least one of the board members agrees that the policy needs revision.

Board member Stephen Chapman didn’t seem to disagree, but his vote Thursday reflected a timing issue.

“This case is a snapshot in time,” said Chapman, who was appointed to take John Allen’s place at the meeting due to medical reasons. Allen also was absent from the full board meeting Tuesday.

Chapman said the decision came down to enforcing the policy as it stands. But it might not stand as is for long.

“It will be addressed before next year,” Chapman said. “This was not the appropriate way to do it with a specific case.”

Policy changes require a majority vote from the full board. A committee of the board annually reviews such policies.

So once again the education needs of one of their students is less important than policy and procedure.  My one issue with this is that the family tried to turn this into a religious expression argument.  They claim the student grows his hair out because Jesus inspires him.  Now that may be absolutely the case, but this policy should be stricken down on grounds that it is immaterial to the ability of the teacher to do his/her job in educating students rather than trying to muddy the water with a religious expression argument.  When asked about her opinion of the policy, the principal Rebecca Warren stated, “”I think it instills discipline, fosters respect for authority and promotes a positive learning environment,”.

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