Saturday, August 25, 2012

A hair-raising issue

One interesting article I read in the last few days is that of a certain mother, whose 12-year-old son had his hair cut by his school teacher an hour before his PSLE Oral examinations. He was upset and crying, which made the mother mad and fuming – and she made a police report and complained to the Ministry of Education.

As a mother myself, as I read the report, I find myself wondering if I’d ever react as she did to such a perceived slight, or in the mother’s own words in the Straits Times report, “She (The teacher) showed me no respect by not telling me that she was going to cut his hair beforehand.”

When I was in an all-girls’ secondary school, the kids I hung out with wore our pinafores a certain way, stringing our belts in every other loop except the waist loop. We wore the funkiest sports shoes that white would allow. I even colored my hair numerous times, despite my teachers’ constant threats that she would cut it off. Of course I wide-eyedly told her since I am like 25% Peranakan, I can’t help it if my hair was so naturally a little off-black. Hey, I even remember when I collected my GCE “O” Level certificate (or maybe it was the “A” Level cert, my memory faileth me), my discipline mistress sternly warned us to come back to school dressed properly or risk not being able to collect the cert! Of course with time, the school has wised up and looking at the school girls in my old alumni – and their belts are now permanently sewed in placed with monogrammed socks, and looking altogether, well, uniform. I am sure there will be some who manage to somehow circumvent any sort of school rule. There always is, isn’t there?

Back to the student whose hair was cut off, I think the school has its case, but probably should have handled this with a tad more caution. To cut the boy’s hair short is one thing – I personally feel if warnings have been given and the boy refused to accede, then sure thing. Call the parent, inform them to either bring him to the salon that same day, cut the hair if they so agree. But perhaps the school ill-chose the time to dole out the punishment – and opted to cut his hair an hour before an important exam. But I do feel the school has the right to stand by its stated rules and regulations.

The mother? A tad over-reacted in my opinion. Some might feel a little more than a tad. Because to make a police report on this? Huh??? She could have gone to the principal for an explanation, and yet she chose to jump a couple of levels of authority to the police and the MOE. Minors involved in most crimes or court cases would have their identities protected by law, to prevent them from being singled out. Yet, this mother gave such explicit details of her son’s name, the name of the school in concern, and heck… even gave some before-and-after mug shots of her son. Hmm. He has achieved quite a status and well, I am not sure I would want to subject my son to such scrutiny.student From the Straits Time article as at 25 August morning, these are the number of social media “shares” this story has garnered.

So back to my original question… as a mother myself, would I find myself responding in similar manner? Well, I honestly don’t think so. I am a pretty non-confrontational person by nature, though if someone hurts my babies and makes them cry I might turn around to hiss at them. But then again, I guess the hubby will be around to always moderate my feelings and actions. Haha!

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