Stone Age Administrator award?

2008_tx_native_american_long_hair_k
Sometimes a story is just so egregiously stupid that you not only have to post about it but encourage others to spread the word too. This might be one of those situations (hat tip to Jon Becker)…

This picture is of a 5-year-old kid named Adriel Arocha. His family wants to move to Needville, Texas. Adriel is of Native American heritage and has never cut his hair in his life. No big deal, right? Well, apparently it is because the superintendent of the Needville Schools, Curtis Rhodes, won’t allow Adriel to enroll in kindergarten unless he cuts his hair. Why? Because – unbelievably in 2008 – the district doesn’t allow boys to have long hair. Really.

Read the article in the Houston Press, particularly the part where the superintendent defends the school district’s backwardness. Check out Adriel’s family’s blog about the situation. Feel free to publicly ridicule this school district because Curtis Rhodes is giving administrators everywhere a bad name. What university trained this guy?

Maybe it’s time to create a Stone Age Administrator award…

Photo credit: Houston Press

18 Responses to “Stone Age Administrator award?”

  1. LOL. That’s so stupid it’s funny. Sounds like a lawsuit. Let’s see, there’s possibly discrimination and there’s surely something under freedom of speech / expresion…

  2. Good grief. Reminds me of the time in HS when I was hauled down to the principal’s office BY MY EAR by the study hall teacher because my hair went over my shirt collar in back. In Connecticut, 1967. We have come so far – aaack

  3. What comment can you make to a decision like this? I second the nomination for a stone age administrator award!!!
    I think this would be hard to top….I hope?

  4. You said “His family wants to move to Needville, Texas.” It is a choice they are making. If they don’t like the values of the community then move some where else. Why is everyone jumps on the band wagon when just a few idiots want to change the culture of a school. Now with the said if it is just the superintendent then School board can override him and they should if it is not the values of the community.

  5. @Big Ed: What about school districts’ obligation to provide a welcoming learning climate for students? Should community values be allowed to keep out Black or gay or poor or Jewish families?

  6. I’m waiting for the follow-up article where the principal says, “We’ve just been handed this document called the U.S. Constitution. We’re reviewing it to see if there’s anything important in there…”

  7. Wow. Wonder what the reaction would be to the mohawks that our KG boys would enter school with?

    Now come on, doesn’t he have anything better to do? Like maybe work on aligning every day practice with his organization’s mission statement?

    From the mission statement of the Needville Independent School District:

    “All students will acquire a knowledge of citizenship and economic responsibilities and an appreciation of our common American heritage.”
    http://www.needvilleisd.com/brief_facts.htm#mission

    …unless, of course, aboriginal people don’t fall into the categories ‘citizenship’ and ‘American heritage’…

  8. ps – I’ve commented on the family’s blog to show our support…

  9. I sent the school board a letter.

  10. Ooooo. *wince* I don’t know how well-versed the family is in pop culture, but I can imagine that with his name and his hair, Adriel will bear the brunt of many a Little Mermaid joke.

    Kids can be DAMN mean.

  11. What a joke! Can a school board really mandate personal appearance to that extent? The school for which I work doesn’t even have a dress code, it’s up to the individual teachers to point out whether something someone wears is inappropriate. And I can just imagine the hue and cry that would erupt if we tried to put in place a “hair code” for acceptable styling… this principal/superintendent needs to focus on real priorities, not minor issues like lock length.

  12. Maybe this superintendent is based in parochial schooling – where you can pick and choose and not worry about reaching the edges of the spectrum culturally, socially, economically, or intellectually. Seems like this community – or the schools perception of the community – is based on Mayberry values that aren’t all that applicable in a diverse world like we have. Thank God we have learned (at least partially) to understand and accept differences and embrace what a variety of perspectives can mean to our lives. Personally, I love the color of life and wouldn’t want to stay in the black and white hue of Andy, Barney, and Gomer. What a learning opportunity Opie would have had with young Adriel Arocha skipping stones with him at the pond…

  13. This falls right in line with all the other headlines from Texas recently. Forcing kids to wear prison jumpsuits for breaking dress code, charging students to use school lockers, etc. Administrators are spending more time developing silly policies and less time focusing on improving education.

    Hall Monitor
    http://detentionslip.org

  14. @Hall Monitor

    Although I do agree with the fact that prison jumpsuits and charges for school lockers may not be my personal choice (by the way, I do have T-shirts for students that wear inappropriate slogans and don’t have another option for correcting the situation), I don’t think that you can ignore some of the distractions that happen in schools. Part of improving education really is getting students to be focusing on the learning, not the behaviors and antics of students seeking attention. Not addressing these factors is simply turning a blind eye to the current and immediate issue – something that we have become very good in doing in recent years at almost all levels in almost all arenas. Although we can go too far (waaay too far if you live in TX evidently) not addressing something can easily lead to students believing they are beyond reproach, and yes, we may already be too late.

  15. Just a few things.
    I remember elementary school we could not have hair below our ears, then we grew our hair, and there really was not policy about it, just rumor.
    My HS basketball coach decided we needed to have short hair one year, so I cut the shoulder length hair, and with the rest of the team stopped shaving.
    What does hair have anything to do with anything. Let’s think back a bit. Have a look at our founding fathers, could they attend this school? How about Jesus and the guys he hung out with? It is my understanding they had long hair and beards. I guess they would not be good enough for this school district.
    So many times we get tied up in trivia, and this looks like one of them.
    Do they allow married women to teach there? How about women “in the family way”? The 1950’s values would not allow this either.

  16. I think that this could be an excellent learning experience for not only this superintendent, but many other educational leaders as well. It really takes extreme behavior like this to cause the rest of us to reflect upon our own practice.
    Schools are not an open forum and thus freedom of speech and expression can be suppressed if they pose a substantial interuption to the primary purpose of school. There is a great debate nationally about dress codes and the advantages of uniforms. There is ample research to justify such uniform policies, but I question what we are teaching our children when we do this in a publicly funded institution whose mission it is to educate our youth. Are we not sending a loud message encouraging our students to conform when doing this. I am not so sure I want all of my students to conform as I am not real sure what we will be asked to conform to.
    This issue is personally offensive to me as I value my interpretation of the first ammendment which would prohibit such policies, but I know that in a free country there are also other interpretations of each of the ammendments to the constitution. I don’t know that this is nearly as cut and dry as we would all like to make it. Ofcourse, a Native American boy who has long hair will most definitely be protected from discriminatory practices such as this, but what about other more controversial issues regarding the first ammendment. Earlier there was a post concerning the use of Facebook, MySpace, etc. to communicate to students. Is this not also a violation of the first ammendment?

  17. This situation has been a very trying one for this family, including me. I am this young child’s grandfather, and I have seen the disappointment he has gone through, and the determinination his Mom and Dad have displayed through all of this.
    All school administrators must take this issue seriously, and open their eyes up and see all students as individuals, not clones.
    The year is now 2008, not 1908.
    I am proud of anyone who will stand up and speak for themselves.
    To close my comments I will say that up until 3 weeks ago I was not aware that I have Cherokee blood. The reason I did not know that is because MY grandfather did not want anyone in the family to know that.
    Shame on him.

  18. Girl who actually went to this school Reply November 12, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Just because our school has rules and actually has the guts to stick to them everyone decides to get bent out of shape about it. GET OVER IT!! If the parents don’t like the rules then they can move we obviously do not need them in our town. Our school has a great educational reputation and any child that has the privilege to attend this school has an advantage in life over children that attend other schools. I support our school district and their decision.

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