Hair policy cuts self-expression

Cheyne Fernandez ’20, Reporter

Archbishop Riordan High School’s hair policy, a revised portion of the dress code, garnered a lot of attention when the school year began.

Students and parents received notice of this policy during the summer, and some students were upset by the school’s decision. August 16, 2018 was my first day back at Riordan. As a member of Student Parliament and CORE team, I learned of the policy earlier than others.

During the summer, I grew out my hair, knowing I would have to cut it eventually, but I never thought of the emotions that would accompany the big chop. My locks were shorne, both literally and metaphorically.

Hair gives many students confidence—whether it’s in length or style. Being in a private, Catholic school already restricts students from opportunities of self-expression, such as requiring a uniform. By further restricting the dress code, it offers even less freedom of expression through appearance.

With the new policy, students are required to cut their hair if it exceeds one inch in height above the scalp, which is a huge issue for students with kinky- textured hair. An individual with straight hair can get away with longer hair by simply laying the hair down with products.

The hair policy, requiring students to have hair no longer than one inch, is too restrictive. It does not facilitate learning, but rather suppresses expression. It should be revised to consider hair texture and self-expression so students may grow into the people they are meant to be now, and in the future.