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In Need of a Haircut

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In order to enter kindergarten this fall in Needville, Texas, a 5-year-old boy will need a haircut. Parents Kenny Arocha and Michelle Betenbaugh are outraged that the school board in Fort Bend County, which has a strict policy against long hair, denied their son’s admittance into school, reports The Houston Chronicle.

Native Americans, Arocha and Bentenbaugh appealed to the school board, citing that the shoulder length locks are for religious reasons and are a well known practice in Native American culture.

At the school board meeting, Superintendent Curtis Rhoades called the issue “premature” and said the boy is not technically a student in the district. The family, however, is in the process of moving to the Needville district and plans to take the matter to court if necessary.

7 Comments

In Need of a Haircut?

That headline is unfortunate.

It should be "In Need of a non Racist School Board" instead.

FYI -

Native American beliefs clash with rural district's dress code

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/moms/5888151.html

Boy with long hair banned from Needville kindergarten

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/5892068.html

How can long hair disrupt school? That school district has too much time on their hands if they can make up ridiculous, unnecessary rules. What is next, no curly hair?

I'm embarassed to be from Texas when I see situations like this. I work as a teacher in a small Texas town. I was shocked my first day of work when the entire district was led in prayer by the superintenddent...and they prayed 'in Jesus' name'. I was shocked. Although I practice Christianity, I have family members of all faiths and would never have dreamed that at a work place people would assume that everyone is okay with open prayer...what about other beliefs...surely out of 250 people there were those of other faiths. Anyhow, I would imagine when the couple in the article officially move and enroll their child the school district will not protest. School districts hate bad publicity and fear law suits...I hope the parents stick to their guns and open some small minds.

My daughter had waist-length hair entering kindergarten as did a number of other girls in her class. This boy's hair is only shoulder length.

How his hair is styled, what clothes he wears, and what ever way he chooses to express his beliefs is no business of people in the educational field. Their job is to expand the mind!!

If indeed this policy is gender-specific; and, since the boy is a Native American, I don't think the school board has a legal leg to stand on.

Thank goodness I live in New Jersey.

As a Comanche woman, I am totally outraged by such blatant prejudice and disrespect for a culture's beliefs. How would that school district's members react if told their child could not register if he or she wore a cross or a Star of David? Many years ago, when I was an elementary school student, back in the days when being Indian was decidedly unpopular with the non-Indian community, every single time a student came down with a case of head lice, I would hear MY name on the PA system. "Mrs. (insert teacher's name) would you please send Kai to the nurse's office?" I don't care if I was an entire BUILDING away from the infested child & had never even SEEN him or her, they assumed, as the school's ONLY Indigenous person (aka dirty injun back then) I must SURELY be the carrier. Did it matter that I NEVER had head lice? Nope. I was called each and every time. I swear I thought those days of stupidity had passed. It saddens me to learn that in some places they are most defintely still firmly intact. I would ask the Needville School District to kindly update their thinking from the 1950s to 2008.

This is an unfortunate response from some individuals who did not think through the consequences of their decision. Children in the US are coming to school in burkhas, turbans (in the case of Sikh children), and any number of other manners to express their family's faith. Frankly, as an elementary school principal and superintendent, I'd rather have an entire school full of children whose parents are proud of their diverse faiths and who bring their children up with thoughtful values and the intention to be contributing members of a society, rather than a homogenous group, as I imagine the board in Needville to be, who doesn't see the application of their values extending to folks different from themselves.

We live in Boling,tx., just across the county line from Needvilie. Everyone reading this can rest assured that Needville ISD is NOT the only district in Texas that violates civil rights. I have put three kids through these schools for more than 25 yrs. and the same thing still happens every year. Today my fourth son was told to cut his hair, and it's not even what I consider long! Does someone know a lawyer willing to help us??? I am sick and tired of these people acting like they can get away with this- it has nothing to do with education and everything to do with their perceptions of 'long-haired hippies', one of which I was.
Fred Gangstad

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  • Fred Gangstad: We live in Boling,tx., just across the county line from read more
  • Bob Raines: This is an unfortunate response from some individuals who did read more
  • Kai Naconi: As a Comanche woman, I am totally outraged by such read more
  • Jo Dolce: My daughter had waist-length hair entering kindergarten as did a read more
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