Skip to comments.Native American beliefs clash with rural district's dress code (5-yr-old boy)
Posted on 07/18/2008 1:00:22 AM PDT by rawhide
A small rural school district in Fort Bend County and a determined mother are tangled in a dispute over hair.
Michelle Betenbaugh says her 5-year-old son, Adriel Arocha, wears his hair long because of religious beliefs tied to his Native American heritage.
But the leaders of the Needville school district have strict rules about long hair on boys and don't see any reason to make an exception in his case.
The dispute illustrates a problem American schools have faced for decades: how to balance individual student rights against rules designed to maintain order and discipline in the classroom.
The case also shows that some rural Texas school districts often have stricter grooming codes that reflect the traditional or old-fashioned values of small-town America when compared to those in big-city school districts such as Houston's.
According to a legal expert, courts have repeatedly backed school districts in numerous lawsuits. But the same courts have granted students and parents some rights when it comes to hairstyles tied to religion.
"Every sort of legal challenge that could spring into the creative mind of a lawyer has been brought," said Joy Baskin, an attorney for the Texas Association of School Boards. "Time after time, courts have said that it is not unreasonable to regulate dress and grooming."
Baskin said legal rulings regarding challenges to hair codes on religious grounds let school districts grant exceptions.
(Excerpt) Read more at chron.com ...
Adriel Arocha's parents consider his waist-length hair "sacred" and contend it reflects Native American religious beliefs.
Considering that half the Indians out there are women, I must disagree. Maybe you like your ladies ‘butch’.
Far out man!
Reminds me of my Hippie High School days and all the arguments with my old man.
Another reason to stay out of public schools. I had hair down to my shoulders through most of Junior and Senior High School. Got away with it since the district changed their policy to allow boys to have hair down to the shoulder. I was fine with all the other rules, but the hair length policies are just retarded. No facial hair is an iffy. Most boys can’t grow anything above peach fuzz so I am fine with requiring clean shaving.
Though if boys are allowed to grow long hair then they also need to meet appropriate hygiene standards. No dreads or other unhygienic crap.
His hair is beautiful.
Facial hair is the one battle I won with my high school.
I have very sensitive skin on my face, especially on my upper lip. Therefore I wear a mustache and have since the 9th grade. I am also one of those unfortunates that had facial hair early; and it has always been very thick. If I shave in the morning, by 2pm I look like Yassir Arafat! :(
Due to my sensitive skin, I only shave every other day, leaving me a bit ragged on the “off” day.
I had a doctor’s note to this effect, and when my Assistant Principal INSISTED that I conform to the school’s grooming code, I told him that I’d fight him to the USSC if necessary before I’d give in. My parents had some stroke with the School Board, who then told the AP to back off.
I can see lewd clothing and offensive comment restrictions, but the skrewels really need to learn their proper function.
1/16th or 1/32 Indian as I vaguely recall.
I would grow my hair long also if I could have free land and mooch off of taxpayers my whole life. Yipee
Thats fine. That is why I said I was iffy on the no facial hair rules, since there would be cases were boys would need to be exempt. To me it is more about hygiene than having or not having hair.
Dress and hair codes are stricter in most cases in British school than US ones anyway so I am used to more rules on what and how you can wear clothes or hair at school.
A school would never say that girl had to cut their hair, maybe tie it back to keep out of her eyes or not be dangerous if she was attending some sort of craft or practical class. Maybe similar rule for the boy in this case as a special dispensation for religious reasons.
On the other hand if the school has a nit problem then I can understand request to cut hair of all pupils including girls. Some of our schools have had real big problems and lot of it seems to stem from parents abdicating their role in the child's grooming hiding behind fashion and the will of the child.
We never had this much problem with nits when I was young though there was less central heating which maybe a factor but on the other hand I would say there were more children from poorer and more unhygienic backgrounds than now. So my conclusion is that parents are not ensuring children's hair is regularly combed and washed. My mother did mine right up until I got to teenage years when I was then considered responsible enough to do it.
“If the Great Spirit had desired me
to be a white man
he would have made me so
in the first place.
He put in your heart
certain wishes and plans;
in my heart he put
other and different desires.
Each man is good
in the sight of the Great Spirit.
It is not necessary,
that eagles should be crows.”
Sitting Bull, Teton Sioux
Yeah, cause that little boy having long hair will totally disrupt the classroom. Give me a break. I sent my daughter to Kindergarten with pink hair. Ok, it was an accident, I put red mouse in her hair in the summer because she wanted it red and it stained her blonde hair pink. She loved it though and it eventually wore out. But I promise she was no distraction beyond the other girls going “I love your hair!”.
Nits have nothing to do with short hair or dirty hair. While it’s easier to get rid of nits (or to find them) with short hair, it’s not necessary if you take the time to look and keep a check on it.
I grew up around a large group of religious people who never cut girls hair and they kept the lice problem down by checking. Washing does not remove nits, only picking them out by hand does.
Just get elected to Kongress.
Say what? I've got more Indian blood than that (1/8) and my daughter even more (3/16). Where's our Casino millions?
Could be 1/64th - I can’t remember the exact amount, and it’s not obvious anywhere in a quick google search, but good luck on getting your casino millions :-)
Tough. This is a country that in theory doesn’t favor one religion over another, but in practice favors all except Christianity.
The only reason I linked the 2 was as you say it is easier to find and groom and that is why a school might wish their pupils to have shorter hair.
Personally I understand the religious aspect as my parents background was Brethren and many of the more traditional meetings that I have visited insisted women did not cut their hair and wore a head covering in church. The particular meeting we belonged to did not but some of the older women in their 70s and 80s still followed this tradition.
We forget that it was not long ago in relative terms that many if not all Christian women wore hats/scarves in church and it was frowned upon in many evangelical circles to cut their hair.
As I said earlier today this is a difficult dilemma regarding asking a child's hair to be cut because even in the circles I grew up in no longer would you expect women to have long hair and wear hats or scarves. I believe therefore we are less familiar nowadays with this tradition linked to Christianity and it seems as if yet again we are pandering to a non Christian religion whereas a few years ago this very act would have been applicable to the main stream Christian family.
Interesting that Christians have changed their view point and modernized their hair styles and dress but other religions have not. Sometimes I wonder have we compromised our Christianity too much to the modern world and its customs.
I'm part Potawatomi..and it doesn't quite work like that.
Get in line..! : )
I know exactly how it works. I guess you did not accept that government check when you turned 18, right?
Never got a check when I turned 18, I would have known, I suppose.
There were some monies paid out when I was like 7 or 8...$400 bucks maybe. I always figured it belonged to my GG Grandparents anyway.
Never offered any "free land" either although I guess I am eligible for a home loan without making a "down". But I don't know the details...nor do I need it.
I am also eligible for other "benefits" but a large part if not in some cases totally funded by the tribe. My tribe owns 2 or 3 banks...a large commercial development, a golf course, hotels, etc, etc and yes, some casino's. I've never stepped in one of the casino's. But, I've heard the one off of I-40 is very nice.
Most of those enterprises were paid for, in the beginning...with bingo $$, in the last few years with casino $$.
Of many of the tribes around...mine is pretty successful. Without alot of in-fighting and strife. But that could all change in a heartbeat. Ha!
All tribes don't operate the same, so maybe this "payment at 18" you speak of...is something "that particular tribe" did. I dunno....but I surely didn't get a check at 18.
Heh. I got a check when I was 18! It was from the Kwik Stop in East Tulsa! I get sick of the free land, casino money, Government check nonsense. I suppose that guy knows more about ndn’s than you and I though. He should hook us up, bro. We been missin’ it. I do recall some free cheese when I was little, but beyond that, nothin’. That was some good cheese though, wish they sold it somewhere. l0l
P.S. You are far nicer than I :)
Free cheese for all..!! : )
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