Long-Hair Hating Preschool? Hold the Outrage

Julie Ryan Evans
17

Jack SzablewskiPoor little Jack Szablewski was supposedly kicked out of preschool for having long hair (gasp!).

To make matters worse, he was growing it out to honor his grandfather who had passed away from lung cancer 16 months earlier. He planned to cut it and donate it to a charity to make wigs for cancer patients.

A sweet gesture and a good lesson for a boy so young? Absolutely.

So how dare a preschool try to wave its tyrannical hand and step in the way of something so good and honorable and just?

Because it was a private school, with a dress code, that clearly stated "boys' hair must be short and neat."

But, of course, it's the school's fault that his parents (really not a choice a toddler can make) chose not to comply. And the outrage ensues.

“That’s Christian? That’s Catholic?” Szablewski said during an interview with TODAYshow.com. “He didn’t do anything wrong, and he’s the victim here.”

It has nothing to do with being Christian or Catholic, it has to do with following rules. And he may be a victim, but not of the school, but rather of his mom's parenting choices.

She says the school changed the rules -- that she originally had until kindergarten to comply with the rules, but that over the summer rules were changed to include preschoolers. They gave her until October 1 to comply.

So why didn't she? Well, she was going to, but then there was a storm, which messed up the media opportunity, so she didn't, and the rest is history. 

First of all, it seems like this mother is a little publicity happy and perhaps a bit of a trouble-maker. And also, rules are rules. Sure there are exceptions that can be made, and likely would have, if she had perhaps approached the matter differently, but there's also a point you have to draw a line.

I love long hair on boys -- my son didn't have his cut for the first three years of his life -- and I love Heather's son's mohawk (seems like such a cool kid!), but when you choose to send your child to a school with rules, then you've got to follow them.

My son attends a private school, and the uniform mandates white shirts every day. Think about that -- a 7-year-old boy with a white shirt. Do you know how much time I spend trying to get stains out? I HATE those shirts, but I don't send him in a green one because it's Earth Day or a red one during Heart Health Month or any other good cause. Because pretty soon, there would be no uniform anymore -- everyone would have a reason for an exception.

And when we signed him for school, we signed him knowing there would be a uniform.

I also grew up in private schools as well, and I detested the dress code. I spent plenty of time in detention for my strong aversion to wearing socks (now that was a stupid rule). But it also prepared me for a lifetime of dealing with rules I might not always like. My first jobs also required socks (if not in writing, in understood office etiquette), and I had to follow those to because I chose to work there, and I knew the rules. 

Just like Jack's mom did.

Lobbying against rules you disagree with and trying to drive change is one thing. But blatantly disobeying them and then acting outraged when consequences are handed out is a pretty poor parenting example.

Who do you think is at fault  here -- the school or the parents?


Image via Today


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