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Letter To The Editor: Regulating Hairstyles Is Not A Job For Our School System Hair not an educational issue From the Town Talk

The Rapides Parish school system has no business regulating any aspect of students' appearance that they cannot readily modify once they leave campus. This applies to the freedom to wear one's hair as he or she wishes.

Braids, beads, bands or other hairstyles are in no way distracting unless a boy's girlfriend is using class time to style his hair. That is a disciplinary issue. Policies against boys wearing braids are unconstitutional on two grounds. First, unless females are also not allowed to wear braids, such policies are sexist. Second, braids are almost exclusively an African-American style. Braids are an expression of ethnic heritage and must be respected as such. Stop being afraid of students who do not look like small-town Republicans. Enter the 21st century, Rapides Parish. Focus on achievement. Give students a quality education. Prepare them for college, vocations and independent living. Only the most regimented of employers have hair codes, and most colleges would not even consider such violations of personal freedom. Don't worry about how students look as long as they are modest, clean and their underwear is not visible. Any hair policy whatsoever is reminiscent of the 1960s when redneck police officers would capture an innocent hippie and shave his head! Today that would be considered assault and perhaps even a hate crime. Do you really want your system to be regarded as stuck in the 1960s? Leave the hair alone. Rhonda Browning Vidalia