'Dear Hairdresser' letter gains statewide attention
LAST week, The Gympie Times ran a story on a letter sent to local hairdressing salons from a private school on hairstyles it deemed acceptable for its students.
The letter, from the Cooloola Christian College advised hairdressers of their strict style policy that states girls should have no more than two plaits and no "faddish hairstyles" for any student, including shaved or coloured hair.
The principal of the college, Trevor Norman defended the letter and said the school did not have a vendetta on style.
"In the end, the hair salons have their own businesses to run. I am not trying to suggest they run their business in any way... Most schools have policies around what students can do with their hairstyles," Mr Norman said.
The story gained statewide attention and the people of Gympie also weren't shy on voicing their opinions.
There were a number of issues raised in your comments.
Some felt the issue was conformity and individuality with many feeling encouraging conformity on children was either helpful to preparing them for adulthood where they may be required to conform or hurtful to the child's sense of creativity or individuality.
"Personally, I think let the kids have whatever haircut they like. We had to have short back and sides at my boarding school back in the 1980s. Why? I still don't know. Did we turn out better citizens or did it make us feel more inclined to tow the line by not being able to have hair down to our neck? Of course not. It's just a rule for a rule's sake. For fun, here's a question I couldn't get a decent answer to at my school - why would a religious school insist kids cut the hair their God gave them?" said Bruce Devereaux.
Belinda van Dorssen took the opposite view.
"If they are unable to learn a dress code standard now, then when? When they are given written warnings at work because company standards state no mohawk? Even public schools have standards. I'm all for freedom of self-expression, as you know I like to break the rules, and I agree a letter should not have been sent to the salon. That was just dumb," said Ms van Dorssen.
Many people shared Ms van Dorssen's view this was not an issue hairdressers should be responsible for, and that the letter should have been sent solely to the parents and not the businesses.
Trish Seeney said: "It's not up to the hairdresser to enforce school rules but up to the parents."
Glenne Lenske added, "Interesting that the school doesn't consider that the ultimate responsibility lies with the parents and students but instead expects the hairdressers to monitor this aspect of personal grooming. It's an example of how we inadvertently disempower kids and then become (rightly) disappointed when they won't take personal responsibility for their actions and behaviour."
Many more people went on to defend the school or to feel the issue was gaining more reaction than it warranted.
TressaVale Grazing said "So nobody works for an employer who has firm expectations about dress standard and grooming? Regardless of the letter, criticism of the school's expectations seem unnecessary. Many employers expect similar."
Allison N Martin Wilson said "The issue here is parents who disregard the rules, want the perceived prestige of being able to say that their kids attend a private school, and then show no respect for the values that the school is trying to bestow. If the parents stepped up and did their job at home, there would be no need for the school to have to inform anyone. Wake up people!"
Kelly Buchanan said "I am outraged (sarcasm alert). Outraged at the outrage that is being strewn about regarding this issue! Come on, folks. It is not a big deal! Not once did the letter ask the hairdresser to 'enforce' the rules of the school. It simply stated what their policies are."