A five-year old Native American boy has recently been denied admission to Kindergarten due to his long hair (full story). The boy’s hair is kept long and braided in accordance to his family’s spiritual beliefs. The Needville School District does not allow boys with long hair to attend their schools.
Adriel’s parents want to enroll him at Needville Elementary School. Betenbaugh sent an e-mail to the principal, asking about kindergarten and explaining Adriel’s long hair. The principal replied that the district doesn’t allow long hair on boys.
On June 9, the family met with Curtis Rhodes, the Needville superintendent. Rhodes asked what religion upheld that Adriel could not cut his hair. The family explained there wasn’t a church or doctrine they followed, but they believe that Adriel’s hair is sacred.
Arocha said that his belief is to cut his hair after life-changing events, such as mourning the death of someone he loves.
Rhodes told the family Adriel’s hair would have to go.
I tweeted this story when I saw it a few days ago, and received this reply from Tim Lauer with the School Division’s website and motto “Reaching New Heights of Excellence.”
Here are notable quotations from the site:
We expect our students to exemplify that excellence through self-discipline, character, respect for ones self, and respect for others.
To the full extent of their individual abilities, students will be provided the opportunity to develop the ability to think logically, independently, and creatively and to communicate effectively.
All students will acquire a knowledge of citizenship and economic responsibilities and an appreciation of our common American heritage.
Update: Well maybe not enough. Bill Fitzgerald suggests that the following information may be useful. I will email the link to this blog post to the Superintendent. I also encourage you to pass along your thoughts on the issue.
Needville Independent School District
16227 Highway 36 South
Post Office Box 412
Needville, Texas 77461
Fax: (979) 793-3823
Superintendent: Curtis Rhodes
Assistant Superintendent: Beth Briscoe
I dropped the school district a polite note. I simply mentioned that if there is a problem with a student’s length of hair, then the problem is with the observers, not the student.
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My older brother was a good student. He was the top student in his final year at school before entering university. He achieved top results in his matriculation examinations. His achievement in 1976 has still not been eclipsed at the school. Now, what was written in his final report from the school: “Paul’s hair is far too long.”
I feel sorry for the family.. Went to a school (most of the schools in the province) myself that the boys was not allowed to have hair that touch the top of their ears or the collar of their shirts. Girls had to tie up their hair and keep nails short and no make up/ Honestly I can not say that growing up according to those rules made me a better person today. What I can remember is being nervous that I will get in trouble if my nails are just a bit too long. My son cried if he had to go to school when we did not get time to cut his hair and he will end in the principals office. I believe most of the rules still apply today. They are totally missing the point of education??
Kia ora Alec!
I’m new to the blog “Open Thinking & Digital Pedagogy”. After reading your post on Adriel and the nonsense about his hair length, the only digital pedagogy I’d like to offer would be the fingers to the principal of Needville Elementary School and superintendent Rhodes.
I had to check the date on the post. Yep, July 2008, not 1908. It is America? Yep. Eric Hanson’s column about Adriel on Chron.com has attracted 1232 comments at the last count. I haven’t found a comment that doesn’t support Adriel.
One comment in particular shouts sexual discrimination, not just religious or racist, as the school probably doesn’t have a rule for girls hair length. Hmmm.
I think the issue is more about what are acceptable standards at the school rather than the bouys age or length of hair
Obviously discrimination; and old ideas back to ww1 and 2- that boys/men should have short hair. I found this story when i was looking for more info on a recent event- little native boy’s teacher cut 4″ off his hair. He was trying to grow it for his dancing event in a pow wow. That teacher has no business touching him- let alone cutting his hair. His mom wants her charged with assault, and I agree.
As for the native parents beeing asked what religion they follow- duh! Its a belief- not a religion; one that pre dates ‘religion’
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His hair is not an issue…unless it were a weapon of mass distruction. School is learning about what we don’t know…so what do we know about Adriel, is that he has long hair at the age of five? Big Deal! Like that has never been accomplished! The School is choking on a couple of long hairs!