Hi 81 / Lo 73
|Volume 70, Issue 7,
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Keeping hair up to code a higher priority?
At Harlingen High School South, enforcing the dress code has a higher priority than encouraging altruism.
School officials take great pride in that fact, even if it means supporting what can be viewed as sexually discriminatory rules.
Gerardo Lozano Jr. knows this. It's because of him, or rather, his hair, that his school is making headlines. He's protesting a school policy that prohibits males from growing long hair after he was ordered to cut his 5-inch-long hair.
Lozano's story isn't like those of most high school boys who want to grow out their hair as some kind of open rebellion. He just wants to donate the hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit group that makes wigs for children with medical hair loss, citing his family's history of cancer. Locks of Love has even sent the school confirmation of the student's intent to donate.
He needs his hair to grow to 10 inches, but the school won't let him, because the rules clearly state that males can't have hair which covers the eyes or hangs below their shoulders. If he were female, it'd be a different story, because Harlingen allows girls to grow their hair to any length.
Officials aren't bending the rules, even if Lozano has a good sob story.
Ironically, this is coming from one of several Rio Grande Valley cities found to have the "worst sense of humor" of 202 communities studied by Hallmark Cards.
As easy as it would be to make fun of Harlingen's seemingly irrational stubbornness, the problem isn't contained in the South Texas city: it's in nearly every school district.
Inflexibility in this case only draws attention to a flawed policy. From what moral high ground can officials at Harlingen, or any other school, say that growing out one's hair is not permissible? On top of that, how can they possibly say that the rules are more important than allowing an exception that lets a person do a human thing: help his fellow man?
Parents, teachers and school officials should be
proud of students like Lozano and encourage what he's trying to do.
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