I was on the train on the way home from work today when a group of 4 teenage girls got on the train, sat around me and started talking to each other. It was a little annoying to be talked around, but I wasn’t overly phased. In fact their conversations were, as teenagers conversations often are, quite amusing.
As we went past Seaforth station they began talking about a ‘protest’ at Kelmscott Senior High School today. That piqued my interest. I completed years 8, 9 and 10 at KSHS before moving on to graduate at Sevenoaks Senior College.
My mum and aunties went to that school and so did my little sister and cousins. It’s kind of our ‘stomping ground’. This was the first time I’d ever heard of any sizeable ‘protest’ at the high school.
They spoke about how more than 30 students had died their hair bright colours in protest of new school ‘uniform’ rules banning bright coloured hair. These four were all TAFE students, so they hadn’t been there, but their friends had. They received picture messages as proof before getting off the train.
Two of them said they would’ve joined in too.
I’m with the kids on this one.
Why should the school get to decide what your hair looks like? In no way does this new policy improve their capacity to learn. It crushes peoples attempts to embrace their individuality. It discourages bright personalities. These kinds of policies pissed me off when I was a kid. Which is why I ended up at Sevenoaks, an ‘adult learning environment’ school where kids are given much more freedom. I did well there.
I think we don’t give kids enough credit for what they can do or freedom to do it. I thought as much when I was a kid, and I still think so now. I probably always will.
What we should be doing when kids demonstrate a collective will and take collective action like this is entering in discussions with them. Make it an opportunity to learn how democracy works. What’s wrong with a bit of non-violent action against an unjust rule?
I support the kids right to protest, and their right to pretty pink hair.