Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Get a Haircut

Press Release –Get a Haircut

Sixteen-year-old Lucan Battison was suspended from Hastings' St John's College because his hair was too long. Now his parents are going to the High Court for a judicial review of that decision. There has been a lot of opinion voiced on this already in media but I would like to add a parenting perspective.

I confess: I am old and balding, so maybe my opinion is tinged with a little jealousy of Lucan’s great head of hair. I would also concede that, according to my children, I have zero fashion sense. They suspect that I still order my clothes from a 1995 Farmers’ Catalogue.

While I am making confessions, I also admit that having school rules about hair length seems primitive. I thought so back in the 1970s when I was at school and I haven’t changed my mind. Also, Lucan seems like a great kid and his parents are acting from good motives in wanting to support him.

Enough confessions. The boy should get a haircut, for at least two reasons. First, because the parents chose a private school with a special character. If part of that character is a strict adherence to an old-fashioned uniform and dress code, that is part of the deal. Like it or lump it, and the Battisons have the option to lump it off to a hairier school. And secondly, part of the benefit of rules is that they are an exercise in obedience. The idea of obedience as a virtue is even more old-fashioned than short-haircuts but, basically, discipline now leads to self-discipline later. As parents we do the same thing – our rules and discipline are aimed at helping kids to have self control.

However, as parents, we should avoid a few mistakes that I think St John’s has made. A key parenting idea is, ‘Rules without Reasons leads to Rebellion’. If there isn’t a good reason for the rule, don’t have the rule. The worst reason for a rule is, “Because I said so!” so St John’s should put up a good case or change the rule. The second mistake to avoid is inconsistency. Apparently Lucan has had long hair for three years before it became an issue. You can change rules for good reasons, but if you think a rule really is worth having, enforce it consistently. Inconsistency is unfair.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


New Zealand Geographic: Photographer Of The Year Announced

Shaun Jeffers, has won the Landscape category at the New Zealand Geographic, Photographer of the Year awards for his stunning shot of the glowworms at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves! More>>


Howard Davis: Review - 'I, Daniel Blake' - Ken Loach's Bleak Masterpiece

'I, Daniel Blake' is a bleak masterpiece, a chilling and moving story of two people striking up an unlikely friendship under extremely adverse circumstances. It is both a polemical indictment of a faceless benefits bureaucracy that strips claimants of their humanity by reducing them to mere numbers, and a celebration of the decency and compassion of ordinary people who look out for one another when the state has abandoned them. More>>

Howard Davis: Review - A Girl Named Mo

Moana Ete brought her three-piece band A Girl Named Mo to Wellington's intimate and iconic Bats Theatre last week for a five-night residency. Each show was recorded and filmed live for the release of her debut album 'Platonic/Romantic' on Loop records later this year. More>>

For The Birds: Who Will Be Crowned Bird Of The Year?

The competition involves well-known and enthusiastic New Zealanders acting as ‘campaign managers’ for their favourite birds with many going to great lengths to get New Zealanders to vote for their chosen bird... More>>


  • Greening the Red Zone - Bird of the year heats up: kōtare concedes, backs kea
  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter
  • Gordon Campbell: On Bob Dylan's Nobel (And The Surplus)

    So Bob Dylan has just won the Nobel Prize for… Literature? Wow. I’d be just as happy if he’d won for his work on particle physics (“One Grain of Sand”, “Simple Twist of Fate”) or got the Economics prize for his work on the theory of contracting (“Don’t Think Twice Its Alright”) ... More>>


    Scoop Review Of Books: Whose Goat Was That?

    Mysterious Mysteries of Aro Valley is a sharp, satirical and sometimes downright scary romp through and around that valley in ways that made me question the realities of the places I thought I knew so well. More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news