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Don't meet me at McDonalds

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A school in Norfolk has forbidden students from wearing the new, trendy “Meet me at Mcdonald’s” hairstyle. The school has warned parents that their children would be either sent home or put in isolation if they disobeyed the rules.

Mr. Barris Smith, headmaster of the Great Yarmouth Charter Academy has told parents that the school is able to provide a PowerPoint showing the styles considered “too extreme” and “not standard”, that will result in punishment. Besides that, the school is showing examples of the unacceptable hairstyles on display boards around the building.

Let’s break this down. What makes this hairstyle so different and rule-breaking? We don’t know. It features a shave on the sides and back of the head, with a long, messy top- quite vulgar, I would say. Its designation remains a mystery for everyone, including a hairdresser from Ginger’s Hair Studio, just down the road from the school, who said they had “no idea” where the name came from.

However, the “Meet me at Mcdonald’s” hairstyle was popularised by a 13-year-old Blackpool rapper, Little T. With his millions of viewers and huge fan base, he influenced many teens to copy his apparently unique style. According to him, it is supposed to be called “Little T cut” but looks like somebody thought of a more original name. “It’s probably getting called ‘Meet me at McDonald’s’ because all the kids meet there!”, Little’s T mother, Donna, jokingly stated.

But it is not the mystery of the “Meet me at Mcdonald’s” designation that bothers me.

People come up with rather creative names for everything and despite its randomness, I find this one inoffensive. What is, however, disturbing, is banning hairstyles in schools. The dress code is, sometimes, understandable- such as wearing a uniform or a specific type of clothes.

But when it comes to hairstyles, something so unique, it only seems like a barrier for self-expression and personal growth, especially in such a crucial age for kids to develop their personality.

The Great Yarmouth Charter Academy has made its decision- with its notoriously strict code, their list of “unacceptable” hairstyles includes variations of a Mohican, shaved parting lines or hair with excessive “height”. 

Thankfully parents, opposed to Mr. Barris Smith, have common sense. Therefore, the letter sent to parents containing the "unacceptable" hairstyles' list was posted on social media, and many comments argued how “absolutely ridiculous” the decision was, in one of the words of one of the mothers. More mothers have manifested their opinion, and none of them were in favour: “You can’t take time off sick as it affects your education… but they will happily send you home because they don’t like your hairstyle”, Rachael Havens said.

This letter sent to parents is particularly interesting because it provides a detailed list of haircuts that, for some reason, are not allowed. Mr Barris took his time to write it but didn’t give any explanation on why these hairstyles are against the rules. Instead, he just named them as “too extreme”. To make it worse, the list applies only to boys as “girls’ hair is generally not a problem”. So if a girl wanted to shave the sides of her head, what would happen? And why shouldn’t she?

A school is an institution that educates students in various subjects, that is all. Hairstyles, fashion and students’ likes and dislikes go way further its aim. Unless it could affect students’ education, it shouldn’t even be up for discussion. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that the controversy around haircuts comes up.

One year ago, Haman Harin, a 13-year-old student at St. Mary’s College, Hull, was sent to ‘pastoral’ care after his teacher argued that his haircut, the “Meet me at Mcdonald’s” one, was affecting his education. He was also sent out of mainstream lessons.

According to his mother, the school simply doesn’t like it when students have the sides of their head shaved and a perm on the top. Teachers were constantly bringing his hair up, stating that the hair should be “all blended”. This does not seem like an explanation to me. Maybe his long hair on top would disturb his vision in class, or even distract him, but again this is hearsay and none of his teachers mentioned it anyway.

The pastoral care predictably made it worse: “I don’t like it. It’s stopping me learning and I would really like to be back in the classroom so I can get my education,” Haman said. The school has been asked to comment on this and I doubt they can find a good way to justify this rule.

Why not focusing on what matters? There is no possible relation between hairstyles and education that I can think of, but there is indeed a significant correlation between how schools treat students and the way they grow up, and it is hard to understand (or impossible) how that still isn’t the priority. And, come on, it’s called “Meet me at Mcdonald’s”. What can be so bad about it?

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