Rules, rights, responsiblities

Where the right of a school to set, and enforce, its rules stands in relation to a pupil’s right to long hair is being addressed by the high court.

I was siding with the school and the boy’s lawyer likening his cause to that of human rights defenders  Martin Luther King and Kate Sheppard reinforced my view.

Fighting against racial and gender discrimination is light-years away from flouting school rules.

As Nigel Latta says:

Haircuts and ‘human rights’.

I just have to say that I am appalled at the behavior of the father who took a school to the High Court to ‘defend’ his son’s ‘right’ to have long hair – in direct violation of an existing school rule. It seems clear from the newspaper reports that, despite the family’s lawyer presenting the young man as somehow being a human rights crusader on a par with historical figures like Martin Luther King, the young person in question doesn’t see himself like that.

The boy’s father is quoted as saying: “It was about Lucan’s right to express himself”.

In my opinion it wasn’t about that at all… it was about that individual father’s total loss of perspective. This Court action is, in my view, completely irresponsible, and may end up hurting us all.

It’s a very simple issue really. If we expect schools to look after our children then we need to support them and we need to make sure our children follow the school rules… even the ones we may not necessarily like. If you decide to join the school then you sign up to their school rules. If you don’t like the rules then go to another school.

Giving your kids the message that they only need to obey the school rules they like is dumb.

If this legal action opens the door to kids/parents taking schools to Court whenever they don’t like some school rule then we’re all in trouble. The money we should be spending educating kids will get spent on lawyers. Teachers should be in classrooms, not Court rooms.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

One of our most important responsibilities as parents, I believe, is to support the schools our children attend. If I expect my kids’ schools to be responsible them during the day, and to provide them with a high standard of education, then their schools should also be able to expect that I will support their right to set rules.

It’s a shame this father didn’t think a little more about the larger ramifications of his actions. His boy isn’t Martin Luther King, he’s just a kid with long hair.

POSTSCRIPT IN LIGHT OF SOME COMMENTS BELOW:

Just to be clear… my issue is not about the boy’s hair per se. I’m sure he’s a fine young man, and if he wants to have long hair then good for him. My point is that if we expect schools to look after our children (and educate them) in our absence, then they need to be able to set rules, and we need to make sure our kids know they have to follow all the rules and can’t pick and choose the ones they like. If you don’t like the rules then go to a new school where you do like the rules. Don’t go to Court. That is a dangerous precedent that has the potential to impact on all of our children’s education. This is about far more than one boy’s haircut.

This is about a lot more than one boy’s haircut.

It’s about rules, rights and responsibilities.

If a pupil and his father have a problem with the rules they should take their case to the board which sets them, not force the school to waste its time and money in court.

2 Responses to Rules, rights, responsiblities

  1. TraceyS says:

    I agree with Nigel. The last thing we need is more litigious adults in this world and this father is teaching the kid to be just that. What we need is more problem-solvers. No wonder the boy’s lawyer sees him as a young human rights crusader. He is crusading to line lawyers pockets! Self interest much?

    The school will have a democratically elected board (probably) who represent all of the school community. It is their job to review the rules and make sure that these represent what the school community wants (within boundaries). It’s a bit sad to cut across that all because of one boy’s hairdo for goodness sake!

    As far as I’m concerned it’s not a human rights issue because the boy can keep his hair AND still be educated if he finds a school where long hair is allowed. Alternatively his parents could put themselves forward for the next board elections and if they and their views are representative of the school community they will no doubt be elected.

  2. Allan says:

    If he doesnt like the rules he is able to leave the school and go elsewhere. That is his fundamental right. The School has rules which must be abided by if you attend. If you dont like them just leave. End of story.!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: