What do others at school think?

July 11, 2014

A Hastings school which lost a High Court battle over suspending a student for refusing to cut his hair has been ordered to pay more than $24,000 in costs.

Last month Justice David Collins ruled in favour of 16-year-old St John’s College student Lucan Battison, who successfully fought to keep his locks after being suspended.. .

The Battisons’ lawyer, Jol Bates, said costs of $24,159 had been awarded, which were a contribution towards the family’s legal expenses – about two-thirds of actual costs. . . .

I wonder what the other pupils, their parents, the school board and staff think of that?


Which rules are lawful?

June 27, 2014

Lucan Battison has won his court case against St John’s College over his suspension for having long hair:

Today Justice David Collins ruled in favour of Lucan, stating the suspension was unlawful, as was the hair rule set out by the school. . .

St John’s College principal Paul Melloy said the school was “disappointed” by the decision.

He said the school board would consider the judgment “in terms of its impact, both on our school and on other schools”.

“It is not about the individual student but being able to manage our school in a positive equitable environment, this includes compliance with our rules,” he said in a statement. . .

Suspension was the nuclear option and other consequences could have been imposed first.

But all schools and other organisations are now going to be faced with the potential for the questioning of their rules because this ruling calls into question which rules are lawful and which are not.

I wonder what the school’s teachers, board and other parents think of the rule, the court case and the verdict?

Life isn’t always fair or reasonable but surely a school has the right to set its own rules and interpret them as it sees fit?

 


Rules, rights, responsiblities

June 25, 2014

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.


%d bloggers like this: