Latin: /'vɒks pɒpjʉliː/ VOICE OF THE PEOPLE

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"The Hair Debate" by Peter Turner

Over the past three and a half years during which I have attended this magnificent institution, I have heard many a student complain about the policies that the school has with regards to the length of boys' hair. It must be said that high school students from all over complain about many things regarding their schools, and school in general. Most of these complaints are of no real substance and are merely voiced to either make conversation or simply to climb up the popularity ladder.

This particular argument, however, has captured my attention as I think that when it comes to this subject, the majority of the school population - the students - have a strong case. However, to be taken in the least bit seriously by the people who matter, the student body has to acknowledge the opposing argument and find a way to persuade them that the students' case is strong enough to be considered over theirs'. This is why I have decided to, in as non-biased a manner as possible, look at both sides of the argument.

The school's main argument against any hair cut that does not make the wearer look like a cue ball is that it fits with our uniform. They do have a point in saying this: if you take a look at most institutions that require uniform, there are hair regulations as well. There is no deying that short hair does make us look... smart.

Another reason for the rules about hair is that the school does not want its students walking around with hair so long that it borders on unhygeinic or even disturbs learning.

Fair enough, these are two valid points; maybe there should be rules regarding hair, but are such strict ones necessary?

Yes, our short, neatly trimmed hair does go rather nicely with our uniforms. However, I'm sure that with a bit of effort we would look just as neat, if not nicer, with long hair. Many people like to express their individuality through their appearance and through how they wear their hair. I think if students were able to do this the people in our school would actually relate to each other on a more meaningful level: many students feel self-conscious and are therefore afraid to be themselves because of the way they think that everyone views them. Much of the time this fear is brought about by something as trivial as how they look. Giving people the freedom to wear their hair the way they would like to, could help them overcome this self-consciousness and give them the confidence to be themselves during school.

Looking back on Leonard's article on Chapel and how the reason for attending Chapel may just be the school's attempt to try and create a good public image, could the reasons for strict rules about hair not be for the same reason? I think that visitors to our school would appreciate sending their children to a place where they can have a general sense of belonging and be allowed to express themselves rather than seeing their children limited to routine and, let's face it, somewhat old fashioned rituals of wearing uniform and having to shave their hair before the start of every term.

In my opinion, there should be no regulation length for our hair, as long as looks neat and smart it should be allowed. Teachers should, of course, retain the authority to decide whether or not we need a haircut, but this decision should not be taken on the length of the hair alone. The rule should simply state that the students' hair should be presentable, however long they choose to grow it.

Of course I am aware that this will cause a lot of conflict as students will complain if they are told to have a haircut whereas their longer-haired friends may not have to. Yes, we would have to figure out a few ways to establish fair criteria for having to have a haircut. It would be more difficult to establish than the strict rules that we have now, but in my opinion, it would be worth it.

While this may be considered a somewhat trivial subject, it is important that all matters being aired are discussed thoroughly and that every individual is free to join in on the discussion.


  1. I agree with the school policy of having short hair, but the level of strictness is too high.

  2. You make very good points, but the truth of the matter is that. Not everyone has the same idea of what "neat and tidy" looks like and therefore there will allways be a few individuals that will take advantage and abuse the rules...

  3. The topic may be reasonably trivial but your articulate handling lends it a dignity and 'weight' that it so notably lacks in the usual carping (in the worst traditions of the drive-by assault) that happens around the subject.

    Whining malcontents rarely, if ever, influence policy, but you might.

  4. You have made some valid points but allowing long hair encounters a bigger problem. Once you start being more lenient with regards to hair, people will start wanting you to be more lenient with other aspects of wearing the uniform. Already we have seen the rule about shirts being tucked in during summer changed. People will start complaining they want to be allowed to where more earings or different necklaces - not just crosses. And so you can see how the situation will become out of control.

    The fact of the matter is that we are all ambassadors of our school whether we like it or not. When parents look at our apperance they judge our school and so we need to look smart and presentable so as to create a good image of our school.

  5. Agreed, the chapel discussion earlier, is also a great topic and i agree with it, but i doubt someone is going to do something about here. I think this site is more to express ourselfs then trying to reason with the school rules.

  6. Good debate. I agree with you

  7. I think we, as students of somerset college, just enjoy complaining too much. first we say how the school lacks discipline and how juniors don't "respect" seniors. then those same people say that the school is "too strict" with uniform and in other areas as well. today, at the uniform check, many students complained about the "ridiculous" rules. how, may i ask, is the school supposed to instill discipline without strictly enforcing these rules? i don't think this is only about neatness or being an ambassador, it is also about learning to adhere to rules, or to at least accept your punishment when you have violated these rules.

  8. I agree that we are representatives of the school. What i disagree with is the idea that we have to have short hair to be good representatives for our school. Parents dont send their children to school for a haircut, or mine dont anyway. Parents send their children to school for an education and in some cases because the school offers a good sporting option.

    These are the things that parents take into account when deciding on the choice of schools. Not whether everyone in the school has exactly the same haircut. Also having a school with no hair regulations could possibly make us a more distinctive school. We would then be a school that "allows you to be who you want to be". A much better slogan in my opinion than "Celebrating Potential"