Criminal Everything

This isn’t gun related, and it’s not really a case of true over-criminalization (though it easily could be if the state wanted to go after the family for truancy caused by the school), but it’s still something that pisses me off about the nanny culture getting its panties in a twist over any type of non-conformity.

If you’re a school administrator, there are some battles worth fighting. Students who fight, drug or alcohol abuse that impacts the school environment, and maybe even a few slaps on the wrist for overly revealing clothing. Then there are things that aren’t actually disruptive to anyone other than a tight ass who feels an absurd need to punish those who do not engage in groupthink. The principal of Muscle Shoals, Alabama appears to be one of those people.

He kicked out a girl for dying her hair red. Yup, red. Not purple, not blue, not green, not glittery silver, just red.

For the record, those other colors were all colors that I dyed my hair in high school without ever disrupting the school. The closest you might consider a disruption was at the end of my junior year when the school newspaper used me for a trivia question and asked what my normal hair color really was, and no one could remember so they kept asking me throughout the day. Yup, that’s the extent of “disruption” that hair color caused.

Her mother seems to understand how to distinguish between actual problematic behavior in teens and a bottle of red hair dye:

“I dyed my hair when I was her age. I was excited it was that, [that] it wasn’t a tattoo that she wanted or piercings, or something. There are so many girls that do it and there could be worse things. As long as she’s a good student, hair is the least of my worries.”

I framed things the same way to my mom when she was initially skeptical of my blue hair experiment. I could do drugs. I could engage in risky sexual activity. I could get myself arrested. I could “rebel” in any number of harmful ways. Instead, I was an honor student goodie two shoes who rarely did anything against the rules and I just dyed my hair. Hair that grows back. Hair that can be dyed back.

Even though I said at the beginning that this isn’t related to gun issues, I think I need to take that back a bit. The principal’s inability to handle a student who dyes her hair red is engaged in the same kind of thinking of not knowing how to distinguish between a real disruption or threat and something that’s just a little bit outside of the lines of “group” behavior that leads to actions like Six Flags banning veterans wearing military-themed shirts from their parks because the military shirt has a firearm. I’m not sure how you fix that kind of stupid by people who simply refuse to think critically and use a little common sense.

17 thoughts on “Criminal Everything”

  1. Muscle Shoals!? MUSCLE SHOALS!? Home of one of the Greatest Rock, Rhythm and Blues and Soul Studios there ever was? THAT Muscle Shoals!?

    Good Lord, if this guy was in charge back in the 60s and 70s, would he tried to have the Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd arrested when they came into town to record because they had Long Hair?


  2. Don’t wear a gun range shirt to school either. (My own personal peeve is the unacceptability of legal gun ownership by the education establishment).

    As a teacher, I’d try to defend my fellow educators. I’ve seen plenty of situations where a problem student has learned how to technically toe the line, while still being very disruptive, and the eventual grounds for discipline seem out of proportion because the history is not conveyed.

    But, I’ve also seen administrators be complete jackasses and not understand that teaching is much more about developing relationships and nurturing an interest in the world than it is about cracking down on the undesirable element.

    So, who knows what happened here. But learning to accept the diversity of human existence seems to be a cornerstone of managing a civilized culture.

    1. One reason I’m skeptical of the validity of the administration’s position is because the student has apparently maintained this same shade of red for years, and they have never raised a concern. Apparently, the current principal is new in that position. In the previous years, he was merely an assistant and the previous principal didn’t find the hair disruptive in their school. My gut says a petty tyrant now has control and he’s going to enforce his version of the rules that the previous principal didn’t agree with.

      1. (I was mostly in agreement, BTW. Petty tyrants are destructive to society, whether they are in Alabama or Missouri.)

        1. Yup. I also admit that I probably did many things in high school that would get some kids in more trouble than I ever managed to get into. One reason is because I had the “good kid” reputation that gave me extra cover. The other big reason is because I had plenty of ammunition to sue the school for more than enough to give me a very cushy college education. ;)

  3. I never understood how a hairstyle or something was a disruption. If other kids aren’t paying attention in class it’s their own fault, not the fault of whatever they’re gawking at. It’s an oppressive ‘blame the victim’ kind of a mentality, and it ignores the underlying issue at hand.

    1. Eh, I’m of mixed feelings on it. If someone walks in with a giant, mohawk that blocks the view of students behind him or her, that’s disruptive. Sure, they could be moved to the back of the room, but if it’s assigned seating, then they are still clearly trying to disrupt the situation in the classroom by forcing the change. Now, if a student came to school on the first day like this and didn’t know that he/she would be blocking someone’s view, I think a warning is the proper response, not sending them home.

      Plus, I know I walked this fine line because I had a tradition of wearing a Christmas bow with a bell in my hair one day before each Christmas break. It started out as wearing a big bow sold to go on front doors because my hair is just that thick. I think someone joked that I should get one with a bell attached, and I decided to try it the following the year. I liked it, and I stuck with it. Now, being the good kid, I didn’t disrupt the classroom with it. It rarely made noise because my hair formed a bit of a “nest” for it. However, a petty tyrant teacher or principal could easily make the case that a single noise is disruptive and it could be argued that they are right.

      1. If your hair is significantly obstructing the view more than it normally would I can understand it, but otherwise styles and colors shouldn’t matter IMO.

  4. If it was my school back in the 1970’s, I think about half of us would have show up the next day with red hair. We understood what was wrong and petty. And so would our parents. I could see a lot of the parents threatening lawsuits (or kneecaps) if the petty tyrant tries to go there.

    But back in the 1970’s, it would not have come up. We had ADULTS as school administrators.

  5. My oldest daughter was sent home from school for dying her hair, and from the pics, the same shade of red. There was never a claim that it was disruptive, they used it’s not a “natural shade of red”. That was a general rule that was enforced pretty evenhandedly from what she told me. I asked her what she wanted to do about it, and she dyed her hair a more natural shade and went back the next day. Later on she chose to make use of a program that allowed her to graduate early and get away from the school. I was happy she graduated and got away from her mother.

  6. What do they do to natural redheads? Stake them to an anthill?
    What if a natural redhead dyes their hair brown or blond?
    Isn’t that just as “disruptive”?

    My God what a waste the educational system has become…

  7. There was a very strict dress code when I was in high school*. We all tended to look like bicycle Mormon missionaries. Soon after I graduated, they dropped it entirely. Holy cow! Talk about disruptive!
    Everything from nightclubbing to beach attire. Wide range of income in the area was part of it, I suspect. I had to go into the school for a younger sister one day. Stunned, I was.

    Hair color? Get a grip.
    Now, multiple facial piercings and tats, that could be another discussion!

    *Springfield, DelCo

  8. The gov’t has lots of empty 55 gal oil drums to store those “temporarily” seized guns.

    It worked well in New Orleans during Katrina. No problem scaling it up to a national program.

    Of course the guns are pretty useless by the time the owners get them back so it is a win-win for the anti-gunners.

  9. Many school administrators (and unfortunately, plenty of teachers) have gotten really good at teaching children that adults are generally too dumb to be able to distinguish between a real problem/threat and something that is harmless.

  10. I write this as a former teacher (12 years).

    I don’t know why otherwise rational people became idiots when they became administrators. It might have been the required frontal lobotomy required for the administrator’s certificate. It seems not a week goes by during school years that there’s not some story of administrative idiocy, usually attached to a so-called “zero tolerance” policy. As we head into a new school year, there will be a run of these kind of idiotic incidents, and students begin another year.

    As a previous writer pointed out, what they are really teaching is that administrators have no ability to distinguish between real issues and fake ones, between real threats and pure baloney. And they have the ability to be petty tyrants; for some, that’s just the way they are.

    Of course, parents in these districts have the ability to put an end to these kinds of ridiculous events. Show up, en masse, to the school board meeting. Refuse to accept the decisions of the administrators. Hold your kids from school, en masse for a few days. Administrators are quick to suspend the single student for an NRA t-shirt; they’d hesitate to suspend half the student body for doing so. They get away with this crap because parents tolerate it.

  11. Honestly, kids don’t care if their friend’s hair is red, cobalt blue, or electric green. If they think it is weird they will say so, but it isn’t a “distraction”.

    The only person distracted by the hair dye appears to be the administrator who got wrapped around the axle about it.

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