Long locks untouched by schools' hair policies

South Canterbury high schools generally have no hair-length criteria, if feedback received yesterday is anything to go by.

Geraldine High School has no rules or guidelines surrounding hair, and especially not the length for boys or girls.

Principal Juliette Hayes said the students presented themselves tidily as it was.

"Rules are about what we think is an important influence on learning and we haven't considered changing our hair rules at all," Hayes said.

Opihi College principal Mike Wright said the school had rules around tying up hair at certain lengths, but those were regarding safety.

"My primary concern is for health and safety of the students," he said.

However, the school did have policies surrounding hair colour. They asked for natural hair colours only and no extreme hairstyles, he said.

Waimate High School's Janette Packman said the school rule for all pupils was that shoulder-length hair had to be tied back.

This was for safety reasons.

Meanwhile, Timaru Girls' High School principal Sarah Davis believed as a school that had been operating for 134 years, it held more traditional values.

The rule book called for natural hair colours, hair to be tied back when required and only black or blue hairties to be worn. Students were under no illusion when they enrolled that they had to follow school rules.

Davis said students were required to sign contracts stating they would adhere to the rules.

"It's just an expectation of students in the school right from the outset."

Twizel Area School principal Bill Feasy stated the school fell in line with many of the other schools in the area.

However, he said he was nervous about the upcoming high court ruling (see inset), and what precedent it would set.

"I will be watching it with some interest," Feasy said.

Roncalli College, South Canterbury's only Catholic high school, had a four C's policy, principal Chris Comeau said.

"Clean, combable, one colour, and off the collar. Boys or girls, just tied back so it doesn't touch the collar," he said.


Hastings youth Lucan Battison, 16, has been suspended from his school, St John's, since May 22 for having long hair. The state-integrated Catholic boys' school has a bylaw requiring hair to be "off the collar and out of the eyes".

The school lifted the suspension on May 30, allowing him to return if he cut his hair first. Lucan offered to tie his hair back but this was unacceptable to the school.

The Battison family intend to go to the High Court on Monday to seek a judicial review of the school's decision. 

The Timaru Herald