why are there rules?
As expected, the comments in my previous entry about our policy on long hair are two sided. Svelte, transcience, and my co-teacher Joyce, while not admitting that such a policy should be regarded as sound, agree impliedly that it should be followed. On the other hand, the more radical ones, or should I say the "liberals" like Renan, Cerridwen who intimated to me
her feelings on the subject via email as she couldn't post a comment (like i do with most of the sites these days) and the ever outspoken Sassy are totally questioning the validity of the policy. To paraphrase my online and real time friend,Sassy, such a policy runs contrary to the freedom of expression of students. A valid argument, of course.
"So, why do we have such a policy?" you may ask? Many teachers, me included, when asked without warning would probably answer, (and that is because they were caught off guard) "for good grooming purposes!" But then, thinking about it, that is not a valid answer. Hmmm, I can just hear the "pilosopos" beaming with pride and arguing heatedly, "so was Jesus Christ unkempt, then?"
Again, before I proceed, I'd like to start with a disclaimer lest students reading my blog would use this against me. What I am about to say is my own personal opinion and as such, could be at best, a source of a lively discussion, but never to be taken as gospel truth. I have no power to speak in ex-cathedra, hahaha.
Nevertheless, what is clear to me is that inspite of what I believe in, I have been given the duty of custodian of discipline in a school setting, of discipline standards set by the student handbook which I cannot alter and do anything but to observe, enforce and keep. That said, I shall proceed.
My Malaysian friend, Bayi, who is well-known to Filipino bloggers said it best when he commented,
There is a place and a time for everything. At school the students learn discipline and keeping to the rules. Being able to discipline oneself puts the
person in good stead when the need arises and gives him a cutting edge if the other competing parties are not.
Keeping long hair for the sake of doing it is not creativity. If there is no valid reason (what could the reasons be when one is a student?), they are merely rebels without a cause. And when one's a student in high school, it is not the time to be such.
I tend to agree a hundred percent. Freedom is not without boundaries. As we all live side by side, belonging to a social structure dictated by social norms, culture and mores, there are certain rules we have to follow. Freedom should not be used wantonly and at everyone's whims and caprices. Together with freedom is responsibility.
Imagine a world where everybody is free to do anything at will. Chaotic right? It will be a world where one can do as he/she pleases. Where one can park his/her car at any spot, where one can throw his/her garbage anywhere, where one can steal another person's belonging, and worst, where one is free to kill another. That cannot be. Of course, one might argue that this is not what is meant by freedom. But why not? Total freedom, right? Ergo, free for all.
Fortunately, that is not the case. We have set a standard behavior based on our experiences and traditions. Are they all sound? Maybe not, but still, they are accepted standard behavior. Okay, maybe not a good example as non-conformists will always argue that cultural traditions and beliefs are passe. But must we forget that these are the keystones to more organized laws such as those enacted by congress? There you go! Try to disobey the law and surely, there will be repercussions.
How do we learn to follow these rules then? First, by learning how to follow simple ones! The haircut policy may sound trivial and irrational to some, but nevertheless, a standard has been set and such has to be obeyed. Otherwise, we will always find ways and means to go about evading the rules, finding justifications for our actions no matter how wrong they may be. That's what every rude drivers are good at. That's how every ill-mannered, ill-bred persons live.
Don't get me wrong. I am all for academic freedom! I have grown my hair to shoulder length before as it was the fad at the time. And yes, i felt free. But that was in college when I can already distinguish right from wrong and that I was ready to face the consequences of every course of action I take. High school is different. AS teachers in high school, we are supposed to dig a deep foundation for the individual to build his/her character on so that he/she can be ready to face the harsh realities of a very violent world as a result of the ways of "undisciplined" men and women who give in to their weaknesses because they did not know any better.