Kim Redmond, Superintendent
Canton Local Schools
(Board of Education)
One of the first news stories to show up on my browser this morning offered an outsider from across the state a clear picture of the educational environment provided at Canton Local Schools.
Ohio Student Suspended for Growing Out Hair to Donate
According to the story, Zachary Aufderheide (17) of Canton, Ohio, is growing his hair out for donation to cancer patients.
The Canton local school district has a dress code which states that boys' hair (specifically boys' hair only) shall not be worn covering the eyes, in a ponytail, or extending beyond the bottom of the regular shirt collar. There is no mention of such a stipulation for girls.
The school is so committed to its code that administrators were willing to deny the student the chance to expand his learning experiences beyond academics to maintaining a dedication to a charitable act; growing out ten inches of hair healthy enough to be accepted by Locks of Love. In other words, these administrators are so sexist, they're willing to deny the student the positive experience of benevolent activism in his community in order to enforce the gender stereotype that short hairstyles are the only hairstyles appropriate for men. As an added bonus, they get to to deny some kid with cancer the comfort that comes with having something to help him or herself look less sick and vulnerable while fighting the disease. What a great policy!
On one hand, the dress code must be very helpful in moderating student behavior.
As we all know from the Bible, read extensively in public schools, cutting a dude's hair takes away the source of the Sampson-like super-strength he might use for unruly behavior, right? Oh, public schools don't follow biblical doctrine, and that's not why?
Well then... as we all know from... uh, assumption, a dude's hair is an extension of his brain cells that can be corrupted if it grows too far beyond his scalp, causing irrational behavior and... no?
Well then... it must be because only sissies have long hair, like these total milquetoasts, for examp... no, I guess that's not right either.
I know what it is. Guys with long hair are slackers who never amount to anything. Just take these hooligans, for examp... nope.
Darn... I can't think of any good reason why this rule either is merited, or is not sexist.
At least the harsh punishment involved has had a controlling impact on Aufderheide's behavior. I mean, they did succeed in making him...
Oh. No, they didn't. He's still growing it out. He's attending in-school suspension, but he's not cutting his hair until it reaches the required length. That is a sure demonstration of the effectiveness of the policy.
On the other hand Mr. Aufderheide can say the experience has been educational. In addition to gaining a deeper awareness of the value and personal reward which comes from using civil disobedience for the achievement of a positive goal, the young man is getting a first-hand lesson in the senseless, ineffective rigidity of bureaucratic adherence to an outdated, unnecessary and nonfunctional policy. Here's hoping he'll take his newfound insight on the power and stupidity of the stuffed shirt into a position of some leadership in his adult life, where he can be the guy who doesn't do something like this to somebody else.
In short, your administration is handing academic punishment (which could impact on the student's academic and employment future) in response to a student's heinous act of charitable giving, because he is a dude.
Yeah, that'll teach him! Congratulations to whatever Barney Fife wannabe made such a well-thought-out and even-handed decision. You should be very proud.
Another Ohio Mom