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Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"

Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Touchy Topic Tuesday, Bad hair day???

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Touchy Topic Tuesday:

Bad Hair Day?- Boy with long hair banned from Catholic School

This Article was posted at the beginning of November, was posted on my MSN Today pop up and out of curiosity, I read it.

The story makes an attempt to be heartbreaking, but really isn't, so much. As a matter of fact, it's just irritating how entitled it is.

The story tells of a 4 year old boy who, when he was 16 months old, lost his grandfather to lung cancer. His mother, a devout Catholic, decided then to grow her son's hair long so as to eventually donate the locks to children who undergo chemo therapy and lose their hair.

Under other circumstances, the idea is sweet, and even admirable. BUT, here is where the plot thickens: Good Catholic mom enrolled her son in a Catholic School pre-kindergarten.

Apparently, when she registered him, the school was alright with her decision to keep her son's hair long, as long as they cut it before he entered Kindergarten, however, before the summer was over, the board of Diocese changed the policy to include pre-k in the policy for boys needing to have their hair "clean cut" as part of the dress code for the school. They gave him until October 1st to have his hair cut.

It is said that the mother of the boy had set up an appointment at a salon and invited a news crew to cover her son's clipping on September 30th. Apparently, though, there was a storm and they didn't go get the boy's hair cut. When they showed up for classes on October 1st, the teacher would not let the boy into the classroom because his hair was not up to par with their policy. She is found to say "He has done nothing wrong, and he is the victim here." The Diocese that run the school agreed, saying that it was a matter that lay between the Parents of the child and the school officials, and that the child had done nothing wrong, but then went on to blame the mother for the problem.

The mother says “I love my church, but this isn’t about the church. It’s about the authority and power and power abuse,” she said. “I honestly think that my son has been totally branded by the Diocese of Trenton. I don’t think I’ll be able to get him into any Catholic school.”

She feels that sending him back to that Catholic school will mean that he will be made fun of. She also says "I honestly feel that they are not worthy to have us here."


Well, now for my opinion, and your arguments for or against my own.

Honestly, I think that the mom is 1. Looking for public attention, and 2. She's extremely full of herself.

I don't think there's any argument whatsoever against the fact that the situation in which her father died is very sad. Cancer is never something that is an easy thing to deal with. It's always devastating, and I think that under other circumstances, the growing of her son's hair for donation is very admirable.

However, what I find very irritating is that she expected a private Catholic school to bend the rules for her son.

I think the part that bothers me about that the most is that it happens regularly. You read stories online all the time about Private school teachers or students thinking they are above the rules. One in particular comes to mind about a teacher who happens to be a lesbian marrying her partner, and getting fired from the private Catholic school she worked at, and then, contrary to her longstanding contract, which states the school's rules against same sex marriage, claims that she was fired unfairly, and that because of her loyalty for over 15 years, her failure to follow staff policy should be overlooked. It happens all the time, and it's ridiculous in my book.

This is the thing: A Catholic school is a private school and private schools are allowed to have dress codes, uniforms and requirements for the way their students present themselves. Heck, the public school I went to didn't allow over-the-top hairstyles or outlandish hair colors to be worn by students. A person who is going to be working at or enrolling in a private school needs to understand that yes, there are rules, no, they are not exempt from those rules, no matter their cause or reason, and yes, those rules will be enforced. It IS, as a matter of fact, fair and well within their rights for the school's officials to enforce those rules.

The school changed the policy the summer before this boy entered the school year, even though at the time of registration, the school officials said that his hair style was alright. Well, they weren't lying. At the time, the hairstyle WAS alright. The policy was changed to include pre-k, but I doubt with every fiber of my being that it was done specifically to force her child to conform. As a matter of fact, the policy change was very likely discussed, decided on and in effect long before the child ever enrolled. Some people just really are so vain they think everything is about them.

The mother had an appointment to cut the kid's hair on September 30th, and she had a news crew ready to record it. The story says there was a storm that happened, which, apparently, stopped them from getting to the appointment. Seriously? I think that's a huge cop out. And she knew the rules. If it wasn't done by October 1st, the boy would not meet his school's requirements and therefore, would not be able to attend school. In my opinion, waiting until the day before the deadline was pushing the limits quite a bit. Why wait so long? I doubt his hair grew half a centimeter from the beginning of the school year to the last day of September. And why invite a news crew if it's REALLY about the service and charity of donation to kids who lose their hair? I have a very dear friend whose daughter, by the time she was 2 years old had hair past her butt and thicker than an adult's hair. She donates her hair to locks of love on a 6 month to 1 year basis now, out of the goodness of her heart AND to keep it under control as it grow so quickly. She is 7 years old and has never called a news crew for the attention.

I DO agree that the boy didn't do anything wrong. But I stand by the school's decision not to let him in. As the mother of children the same age as this boy, I know full well that what they do is my responsibility. If I am responsible for getting them into the dentist, but I never take them, they may get cavities. If I do not take them to get their vaccinations, they may catch pertussis. And this mother did not take proper responsibility for her son and get his hair cut, to which the consequences were that he was not allowed to go to school. And what's so simple is that to be able to come back, all she had to do was get it cut. Instead, she made a stink about the whole thing and got herself plenty more public news attention.

She says that the Diocese "branded" her son and that he'll never be able to get into a Catholic school again, and i think that's bull. SHE branded him by making a big deal of this. This boy could not be allowed to have the rules bent for him. This whole thing isn't ABOUT him. It's about adherence to rules and regulations. Everything about this little boy being innocent is true. He did nothing wrong. He is too young to be blamed to his lack of adherence to the rules in this particular case. However, due to fairness to other students, the school could not just say "oh, you didn't make it in time? Oh, that's okay, come on in. You have all the time you want!" No, that's not how rules work. It's nothing personal. It's not against her son. It's a rule in the policy and that is subject to be upheld. It's an example to other students and parents that the rules are actually important.

Honestly, I have to sit back and wonder just a bit, did that mother use a rainstorm as an excuse so that she could try and get the school to let her son continue to grow his hair?

The mother also says that it's about "authority and power and the abuse of power"- well, I have to vehemently disagree. Schools have power for a reason, and in this case, they are not abusing their power. The family was given ample warning about the impending date of importance. And they did not take that seriously. Rules were not followed and were therefore enforced.

It does not say if the child has had his hair cut since or not, but I disagree that she could not put him back in the same school. None of those 4 and 5 year old kids are going to care about this incident, the only reason it would follow him throughout his school experience is because his mother, looking for her 15 minutes of fame, invited news crews to cover her temper tantrum. Even still, the kids in this child's pre-k class likely know nothing about the whole situation. It's also completely unbelievable that the teacher spent a lot of time talking about the situation.

So, basically, my opinion is this: When you sign up for something, be it a private school, a religion, a club, etc, there are rules and regulations to follow. There are restrictions. There are codes to follow. If you don't like them, then don't apply. But don't bash them and refuse to adhere, do not insist that you are being treated unfairly or get the public involved if you DO apply and fail to follow the rules. If you want to succeed in certain atmospheres, sometimes there are hoops to jump through. If you knowingly take that upon your shoulders, it is, indeed, fair.


Give us your opinions, friends!!! Was the school out of line? Was the mother out of line? What is your take on this story? Let me know! I can't wait to discuss it! Remember: Everyone is welcome to their opinion, but please refrain for mean, hateful comments. Bashing me or my other readers/commenters will be deleted immediately.


Mimi said...

Gonna have to agree with your opinion. So many people these days think that rules do not apply to them or that they are all unfair...blah blah blah
As you said, we know there are rules and laws to follow when we sign up for anything. Even the public High School my kids have gone too, has rules and some of them are probably stricter than some private schools. The rules are made known at the first of each school year, as well as what the consequences will be for breaking them. We sign papers stating that we have been informed of both. If our child breaks the rules then they will then suffer the consequence.
This lady seems to have been fully aware of the rules but apparently thought she was above them. I do not agree with her making her son suffer because she refuses to follow said rules. He is too young to make the decision or the appointment to get his hair cut. I am sure all the kids are too young to realize what's going on and therefore wouldn't even realize there was something to make fun of.
Dakotah was in Junior High and Kelly cut his hair into a mohawk and we got called in and told it was not appropriate for school and could be a gang related hairstyle. They asked us to fix it so we simply cut the mohawk down and he just had a buzz haircut for awhile. But, the point is we complied to the rules we were given. One summer after he was a deacon, he had the mohawk and the Bishop told him he didn't think it was appropriate to pass sacrament if his hairstyle was extreme, and he couldn't just comb the mohawk down, he needed to cut it. So, Kotah came home and said he needed to cut his hair. He obeyed the rules both times... he didn't call the news and say the school or his Bishop had been unfair to him, he simply cut the hair and was allowed to do both things again.
Well, anyway, I just meant to say I fully agree with your stance on this issue.

Tabitha the KnittingJourneyman said...

I understand completely about the family growing the boy's hair out to honor his grandfather. I totally get that and i totally support that.
BUT--the school has rules...and when you attend this sort of school, you have to obey the rules.
If this were an 18 yo man attending any high ranking school, if school policy became you have to cut your hair, he would have to cut his hair. It's not a religious debate. If you don't want to cut your son's hair, go to a different school or homeschool until you cut his hair. No one is requiring you to cut the boy's hair...but...policy is policy. The school gave her time to cut his hair. It isn't as if they said come get him and don't bring him back until his hair is cut.
And--if I am reading things correctly--she had people and media ready to watch him get his hair cut, but there was a storm? So, there was no other place, without media attention, to get his hair cut? Does a specific person need to cut the hair for this project? It seems more like mom wants attention--not that the school is doing anything wrong.

JodyB said...

I have not read your opinion yet, as not to taint my own. But in a nutshell:
School Handbook = THE RULES. Follow them.

It is nice that her son is growing his hair out as a donation, super sweet in fact. But you choose the school your child attends, and with that the rules you and your child must follow. She knew it could turn into an issue, and asking them to bend the rules for her son is setting him up for failure as he gets older, by teaching him to only follow rules when it is convenient for him.

beth said...

Sometimes Brae... I think you share my brain. I just wanted to push "like". Amen.

Eschelle said...

I agree with you completely, every word!

Nicole said...

I agree with everything written here. I also agree that the school has not branded him as "that kid", but almost certainly has branded her as "that mom". Any other complaint she may have, even if completely legitimate, will be tainted by this current unreasonable expectation that the rules shouldn't apply to her son. As a teacher I've had the experience that there's always one or two parents who honestly think that we should bend the rules for their child. I don't see the teachers treating the child differently but we definitely don't want to work with those parents. And the whole news crew thing--that's just ridiculous.

Melissa said...

While I feel bad for this child and his family, there are dress codes for a reason. As we get older we have to adhere to dress codes for work and school is just the beginning of learning that. I do think the mom was very smart for getting the media involved. Nothing like getting a school to relax on the rules a bit than to get some unwanted publicity. She could always homeschool, then his hair can be as long as he wants.

~Sophisticate Style ~ said...

Pre-school age is too young to put that kind of pressure on someone. I didnt read anywhere that the 4 year old asked

"mommy, can I please have really long hair so that you can whack it off and donate it?"

I totally agree with your opinion on this. At the same time I wonder that since the mom wanted so bad to donate hair (which is admirable), why didn't she just grow her own?

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