Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Another inviolable human right invented?

I couldn't help but titter at this story carried by the BBC about a 15 year old "rock music fan" being discriminated against because of his shoulder length hair.

Now whether Grant Stranaghan of Ballyclare High should be allowed to wear his hair long is an issue on which I have not yet formed any view (and nor am I likely to, because frankly it is not a very interesting question). But I will say that the reaction of his father to his son's treatment and the threat of legal action may be construed as just, well ..... A LITTLE BIT OVER THE TOP!

"I could have cried when he told me what they did to him - they put him in a room and threw work at him, no contact with anyone.This is Northern Ireland in 2007. Solitary confinement, I think it's called."

Yes. This is Northern Ireland in 2007 and thus we have a huge song and dance about a pupil being required to work on their own for a while because they've breached school rules. Mr Stranaghan must have a dim view of his son if he adjudges a wee while in his own company worthy of tears. I think this father needs a reality check.

Being put in a room and given work is called education, solitary confinement is being put in a cell for days on end and not given any distractions to wile away the time. I doubt that Winnie Mandela, reflecting on another spell for Nelson in the punishment cells of Robben Island ever had cause to concede, as does Mr Stranaghan about his son's solitary confinement, "he did say he got plenty of work done, but I don't think it's fair".

The monks in Burma have nothing on this poor martyred youngster! The incorrigible whiners of Stalin's Gulag should count themselves lucky that they didn't have to spend an hour away from their mates concentrating on GCSE coursework! You have to feel for his suffering father shedding salt tears at the persecution of his son, all on the basis of some distinctive lank adolescent locks.

Mr Stranaghan claims young Grant had work thrown at him? I strongly suspect he had work given to him, although when I was at school I would have been grateful to have some nice light work whizzing past my earhole as it was considerably more likely to be a chalk duster! I also clearly remember being locked in a music store for 80 minutes because I wasn't able to play Silent Night on the recorder. Somehow I survived this ordeal without recourse to the courts.

I'll let the poor oppressed victim of this heinous injustice have the final word:

"I would be depressed without my hair".

Well wouldn't we all! Let's be grateful Grant Stranaghan lives in the age of nit shampoo.


beano said...

This is f**king pathetic.

Anyone sending their kid to Ballyclare would be well aware that it's a relatively conservative school with relatively strict uniform guidelines.

If you don't like it you're free to choose another school with a more 'relaxed' ethos.

beano said...


Chekov said...

Lol. Extraordinary!

Ryan said...

You do realise that it is against the law to make someone get their haircut against their will?

so YOU would let a 15 year old lose out on education over 2 inches of hair!?

Chekov said...

Perhaps you could specify the law and any precedent thankyou Ryan, if you're going to come on here bandying law about.

Personally I actually think Ballyclare are being a bit draconian, but those are the rules of the school and whether you agree with them or not the persecution complex here is what is actually pathetic.

El Matador said...

I've no problem with discipline at schools, but petty idiocy by school bosses like this really pisses me off. If you're going to have rules, then at least have them relevant to real life. I tend to take the opinion that the fools that get a kick out of enforcing stupid regulations like this against children are compensating for certain lackings in the trouser department.

There are more important things to worry about that a hairdo- bullying for instance. Schools need to get a sense of perspective- do they really think that anal attitudes likes this get the best out of pupils?

beano said...

Ballyclare High's very protective of it's image and walking round in the school uniform looking like a stoner that's been dragged through a series of hedgerows does not help them with that.

As I said, they're perfectly entitled to their uniform regulations which have contained guidelines on hair length for boys for at least 15 years, so certainly before this kid started.

"I tend to take the opinion that the fools that get a kick out of enforcing stupid regulations like this against children are compensating for certain lackings in the trouser department."

On a completely unrelated note, why is it so common for people to bandy about childish comments like this instead of actually debating issues?

Maybe the rules are stupid, so change them. You can't really expect exceptions to be made because your son is special or something.

"There are more important things to worry about that a hairdo- bullying for instance."

This is part of a fight against bullying. In any normal school a kid with a mop like that is going to get bullied. It's for his own good. :P

Chekov said...

"Ballyclare High's very protective of it's image and walking round in the school uniform looking like a stoner that's been dragged through a series of hedgerows does not help them with that."

Not suprising. Their uniform has popped up before in much more compromising contexts.

Angie said...

Well I have a lot to say on this matter.....
My Boyfriend was made to cut his hair in school, the same arguments about uniform was used. He was told he would be unemployable with long hair.
Mean while at another school, I was threatened with suspension for cutting my hair too short. I was constantly pulled up for wearing 2 pairs of studs and other uniform violations. The same arguments were used; it's uniform, I won't get a job, I'd amount to nothing etc.... By the way the same school didn't click on that I was dyslexic until my upper sixth year... That wasn't important so long as my uniform was correct.
Well now I have a few piercings, long black hair, my boyfriend has long beautiful hair, we both ignored the advise of our respective schools once we got free of them and we are both now doing PhD's. The hairs not important, the uniform's not important it's the education one goes to school for. Also some one brought up the point that he should go to another school, well they are all conservative. Is there a school that one could go to receive a good education, and be allowed to have their hair whatever way they like? Grant Stranaghan – keep going but keep your grades up they’d love it for you to fail. I wish I’d had your bravery and family support. What your doing now will benefit many.

Chekov said...

No Angie. It won’t benefit anyone. If the school back down on this issue then all that happens is some kids get to wear their hair long. No-one will gain a better education. If the matter goes to court it is one hell of a waste of legal aid. As I have pointed out, I have very little interest in the substance of the argument. The world will not fall apart because of someone’s hairstyle, but neither will it if fall apart because someone is denied having that hairstyle. The entire issue is just, well, a little bit juvenile, and whilst that might be expected from a 15 year old, my main problem is with the emotive comments of the boy’s father. If he feels it is so important that his son retains his greasy mop, then be all means support him, but please spare us the hyperbole about solitary confinement and tears!

There isn’t to my knowledge any equivalent grammar school to Ballyclare High in Ballyclare itself. Probably the pupil would have to take a bus to Antrim or Belfast if he wished to change schools. Anyway all the best with the PHD.

Safiya said...

This article was hilarious. I was bent over laughing reading it.

My N.I school uniform memories include having to wear a big nasty blazer no matter what the weather was like. Even if it was boiling hot (which admittedly was and still is a rare occurrence there), we still had to sit and swelter.

Anonymous said...

this is a load of rubbish.
you don't even know grant, so you can't judge him.
clearly it shows he has the courage to stand up for what he believes in, and grant wasn't the only one involved in the courtcase as there were a few others.
so stop being so pathetic and grow up, you say that you were locked up- how unfortunate for you, but this is the 21st century. so get with the times.

bye bye