IN his letter in last week’s edition headlined “All need rules”, Tom Griffiths argues that rules are necessary.
Of course, no civilised society can protect its residents’ lives, health, freedom and property if there are no rules/regulations/laws, as would occur in anarchy.
As well, organisations, families, teams, schools and other units within any society need their own rules and regulations to ensure the smooth operation of those units.
Mr Griffiths recognises that some rules may make no sense but that they must be obeyed. However, if some rules make no sense, would not those on the receiving of such rules begin to question why those rules exist?
The case in point is a high school’s rules concerning male hair length. It must be recognised that the short-male-hair norm is an historical accident that arose in World War I’s crowded, filthy trenches.
Lice bearing fatal typhus parasites thrived in such conditions, so (prior to a vaccine or 2,4-D spray) the most effective means of minimising typhus cases and deaths was to shave the heads of soldiers.
World War II revived that practice, and it has become customary to shave the heads of recruits ever since.
As a young man 40-50 years ago I thought that the cultural battle of male hair length had been fought and won. Clearly, this has not filtered through to a certain high school.
If hair is clean and neat, what is the problem with long male hair? What has hair to do with education anyway?
If that rule is seen as senseless and/or discriminatory (there are no such rules for girls’ hair), such rules are likely to undermine respect for all rules, regulations and laws and the authorities that enforce them, leading to more rule- and law-breaking.
Indeed, a better case than “rules are rules and must be obeyed” could be made for compulsory shaving of girls’ hair, on the basis that – as for nuns traditionally and perhaps even now – shaved heads make females less attractive to potential rapists, thereby preventing sexual victimisation.
Finally, I note that nearly all depictions of Jesus Christ show him with long hair. I also note that the high school in question is a Christian one.
What would Jesus think of such a rule?
TOM WILSON, Halls Head.