A group of Kapiti College students have attracted international support for a petition to allow year 13s at the school to grow tidy facial hair.
Anthony McEwen and four other students started the petition as a social studies assignment, expecting it to attract only 20 or 30 signatures from family and friends.
But it has so far received 281 signatures online, from as far afield as Auckland, Christchurch, Australia and Britain.
“They were all saying stuff like ‘What you’re doing is a great change’,” McEwen said.
So support from people not part of the school community.
“At the end of the day, 99.9 per cent of the comments are positive.”
Year 13 students were allowed to wear mufti to school, and to use makeup, he said. But if a student turns up with facial hair, he is taken from class and instructed to shave with provided equipment.
That did not fit with the rest of the dress code, McEwen said. “It’s facial hair. It’s not like everyone is staring at you.
“I don’t see, when we’re allowed to express ourselves through clothes, why we can’t express ourselves through facial hair.”
I can think of at least one reason.
Teenagers mature at different rates, and some need to start shaving at a quite young age, and others not until later in their teens. Most schools already have a high degree of peer pressure and/or bullying. Having some students turn up with beards etc could lead to hassling of other students for not being mature enough yet to have grown facial hair.
I don’t care too strongly either way – up to a school to decide its own policy. But there are sound reasons why a school might not want to.