A Maltese mother was left in tears after the head of a primary church school in Malta demanded that her son cut his long hair before the scholastic year begins as he needs a “decent school cut”.
“We were told that if our son has short hair, it will help the school reduce bullying – that’s like saying, if your son has long hair, don’t come knocking on my door if he is bullied,” the father of the child, who asked to remain anonymous, told Lovin Malta following the meeting.
Maltese church schools have been known to take a strict approach to students with medium-length or long hair, with some schools known to suspend students or even take them to a nearby barber to control their hairstyle.
However, some parents are asking whether this approach still makes sense, especially as schools move towards a more modern approach in other areas.
“These schools use promote things like diversity and inclusivity – but I hope they aren’t just using them as buzzwords. If there is someone with a different sexuality, religion or whatever it may be, I really do hope schools are teaching their students to accept others as they are.”
“I teach my kids not to bully others, I hope these heads of schools also make the same leap.”
The father explained he was raising his children in a way “that is not gender-defined”.
“If my boys have long hair, and if they like it, then they can have long hair as long as it is tidy, clean and well-kept,” he continued.
“If it impinges on their education and their level of learning, I will go along with whatever the school regulations say – but I think it is proven without a doubt that their hair length doesn’t affect their eduction attainment or how well they play with others.”
Saying he knows of other parents in similar situations, the father felt that the schools shouldn’t have anything to do with hairstyles and that by trying to decide what hairstyle students should have is “overreaching their remit”.
“The arguments used were: because boys are more tidy with short hair. Okay, but that’s your opinion. They also said it would minimise head lice – but then, should girls cut their hair too?
“What is the issue if the haircut is clean, tidy and well-kept?” the father asked. “And this isn’t something that’s too liberal, personal hygiene is of the essence for everyone.”
“These kids are going to school, not entering the army or some religious order.”
Ahead of the scholastic year beginning in September, the parents told their son that if he wants to cut his hair, he can, but not because people are telling him to or because they think he looks like a girl.
“In 2021, hair length should not be an issue when we should be teaching children to accept others just the way they are,” he ended.
Have you ever had an issue with hair length at schools in Malta?