A tedious debate again raises its ugly head

JANE BOWRON
Last updated 05:00 30/06/2014

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Jane Bowron

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OPINION: To have long hair in schools or not to have long hair in schools, that is the question that has been dividing the country. With only a few weeks till the election, the debate that's got people more than a little shouty is whether tis nobler in the mind to let a long-haired boy attend a secondary school if his hair is off the collar and out off the eyes.

The burning issue has been thoroughly drilled down into, which headmaster made the initial ruling at the school, the right to freedom of expression for the boy, and the sleuthing of amateur historians delving deep into our hirsute past sourcing photos of schoolboys from the sixties and seventies with flowing tresses that were neither off the collar nor high above the brow but falling into the eyes like an English sheep dog.

In the midst of all the "dems da rools" texts, twitters and heated discussions, I spared a thought for caretakers of secondary schools where long hair is tolerated. Having in the past shared lodgings with long-haired men of the post-modern Viking persuasion, I discovered it wasn't just soap you had to worry about in the shower but the choke of human hair balls in the plug hole, big enough to send a plumber round the U-bend.

As the population expands so will the school rolls as mobs of hairy-headed boys will pour off the sports fields and head for the shower blocks to strain the drains and the bulk funding. Solution - shower caps should be introduced forthwith and hair nets for the classroom.

For over a decade the fashion has been for males to ape the close-shaved look with family bathrooms a-buzz with the noise of electric hair clippers rigorously denuding pates. So close were the shaves one could have been forgiven for imagining that chaps en masse were preparing for war, had just come out of prison or had fallen prone to cooties.

Balding and completely bald males were thrilled that everyone wanted to become junior Ross Kemps as a whole generation of young men blasé about predetermined hair loss and never having delighted in the Marianne Faithfull effect - "felt the warm wind in their hair" - or dared to grow a ‘fro, went straight from a No 1 to bald.

The tedious debate on male hair length in secondary schools hasn't reared its ugly head in the media for years, though I have a vague memory of a male nipper in recent times having something saucy sculptured into the side of his swede that a school frowned upon, but that was the exception.

I think his dear old mum championed her son's rights to express himself artistically there, which is the case with Lucan and his sidekick Dad. Parents going into bat for their loin fruit's image problems at school I still find odd coming from an era where noisy parental interference made the child a mark among their peers.

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You only have to look at the unrestrained tantrums of some parents who cannot keep to the sidelines during sports matches to realise it's the parents who should be taken round the corner and given six of the best. And no books down the underpants please, that would be cheating.

- The Press

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