Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

Hair patrol - the rules are the rules

The Herald spoke to parents and principals following the suspension of a boy who refused to cut his long hair. Photo / Thinkstock
The Herald spoke to parents and principals following the suspension of a boy who refused to cut his long hair. Photo / Thinkstock

Monthly grooming inspections for boys and a ban on untied hair for girls - some Auckland schools have strict rules on students' locks.

The Herald spoke to parents and principals following the suspension of a boy who refused to cut his long hair.

Mt Albert Grammar has this year brought in a rule for girls to have all their hair tied back. Boys can have long hair as long as it is tied back as well.

Headmaster Dale Burden said the rule change reflected feedback from parents and students.

He said he backed St John's College in Hastings, whose suspension of student Lucan Battison, 16, has been challenged in court by his family.

Mr Burden said parents had high expectations on everything from student achievement to ensuring a safe environment, and the other side of that was accepting any rules deemed necessary.

Auckland Grammar School inspects boys' hair at the start of the year to make sure it is short enough and clean.

Headmaster Tim O'Connor said boys were subject to a monthly grooming check, including hairstyles.

"It's all part of the package in terms of trying to set tone, culture and overall standards in a conservative boys' school."

Sheryll Ofner, principal of Selwyn College in Kohimarama, said it had no requirements on hair length or style, only that colours were not unnatural.

"It's really important schools are backed in terms of requirements around uniform, because lots of people try to push the boundaries."

- NZ Herald

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