Personal Expression Vs Schools


Kaden Bradford, the student whose hair was the source of controversy.

Hayden Kolarik , Reporter

Personal expression has become more important and relevant in our society than ever. Many people wish to express themselves however they want, but are stopped due to judgment and/or harassment. Things such as hair and clothing are an important part of expressing yourself and recently it has been a point of controversy for some schools.

In September of last year, the ACLU warned Texan schools to look over their rules regarding hair length after a boy with dreadlocks was threatened with suspension for wearing his natural hair in dreadlocks. However, despite the warning, this continues to happen.

In 2020, Kaden Bradford, a student in the Barbers Hill Independent School District was threatened with suspension after he refused to cut his dreadlocks. The rule stated that hair should not fall “below the top of a t-shirt collar, below the eyebrows, or below the ear lobes.” Kaden had previously been abiding by the rule by keeping his hair tied up. However, when the rule came to light he moved schools to avoid suspension and keep his hair the way he likes it.

Of course, we cant talk about personal expression without mentioning school uniforms. In Missouri, school uniforms are still allowed and any school district can choose to enact school uniforms at any time. Students say they don’t like uniforms because they are ugly and bland. Most uniforms are a solid color with little or no writing on them, imagine seeing that on every person for seven hours a day.

School uniforms can also have some benefits though such as getting rid of students wearing ludicrous things to get attention. Other positives of school uniforms are that they build a closer bond with the school for the student. It makes the student feel like they belong and are not an outcast which also in some cases rescues bullying. School uniforms can have many benefits but also many detriments.

Personal expression in schools is an iffy subject with schools trying to dodge having students wear profanity or obscene language on their clothing. However, that comes at the cost of making students feel like they are just another brick on the wall. Much like school uniforms with people feeling invisible and not feeling important.

School’s purpose for students is to educate them and allow students to choose their own path in life. However, by reducing how much students can express themselves it contradicts itself. How are students supposed to choose what they want to do when they aren’t even allowed to decide their hair length.