A Louisiana boy was suspended from his junior high school last week for refusing to cut his hair. The ACLU says this violates his freedom of religion — it also seems to violate common sense.
According to UPI.com, officials at Juban Park Junior High in Denham Springs, Louisiana suspended Seth Chaisson on Tuesday, and say he can't come back to school until he cuts his hair. But the ACLU says Chaisson's long hair is an expression of his Native American heritage and religion. The group is demanding that Chaisson be reinstated and that the suspension be stricken from his record, and the executive director of the ACLU's Louisiana branch says,
Preventing a native American from wearing his hair long is like preventing a Christian from wearing a cross. The law protects all faiths, including that of Seth Chaisson. Seth should be commended for his courage in standing up for his religious beliefs and cultural heritage.
Chaisson certainly does deserve the right to practice his religion — he and the ACLU are in the right here. But the case feels like something out of 1973 — are schools really still micromanaging the length of boys' hair? And what could possibly be the point of such regulations? Then again, in a country where women can be arrested for wearing headscarves, maybe it isn't so surprising.