a tragic tale of teenage woe...
|It was an ordinary October afternoon. The sun was shining and a crisp autumn wind blew against the window of Señor H.’s Spanish class. On such an average day it seemed almost impossible that such an event would occur.
He was at his desk trying not to fall asleep when he heard it; a rapping on the door. Soon after, a raven haired girl entered the room to deliver the paper. Such an intrusion would normally be, well normal, but that day it was different. On the paper was the message; “J. L. report to Athletic Director -- office ASAP.” Again, such an act would not seem extraordinary to most, but it was strange to all who knew him. His record was immaculate. J. had never been in any trouble with the school before, never. He was a straight-A student who always kept to himself. So what could the administration want with him?
I have said that J. had never been in trouble at school, which is true. However, just a few months prior he and the school had a falling out. The problem: the school’s discriminatory policies. You see, J., a freshman at the time of these events attempted to go out for the school’s football team. He had long blonde hair which did not please the coaches, and their dismissive attitude did not please him.
J. left the classroom to face his persecutors. His golden hair, tied into a tidy ponytail, swayed across his back with every step he took. Slowly he made his way down the desolate corridor, all the while pondering what was about to happen.
Upon his entering the main office, he was redirected to the lair of the dreaded beast. Once inside, the distraught student observed that he and the athletic director were not alone. In the room were the athletic director, Coach L., and the school’s physical trainer. They took their seats; the athletic director sat behind his desk, in front of both J. and the physical trainer who sat beside him, while Coach L. took a seat next to the only exit. Soon after everybody took his seat, the problem was disclosed; the school had received a letter.
The previous weekend J. sent out a specific letter to some influential people, including Representative Mr. H. Mr. H. in turn sent a copy of the letter to Mr. P., the school’s Superintendent, who then sent a copy to the principal, who gave a copy to the athletic director.
These men, and I use the term loosely, told him that he “needs to learn to pick his battles better.” A phrase he heard from them in every meeting afterwards. They then proceeded to tell him that “never in the history of the school has any student ever contacted a Congressman.” in reference to his letter regarding the policies of -- High School.
As I have previously stated, J. had never been summoned to an administrator’s office before, however, he has went to talk to them on his own terms. One of his biggest points was that there was not one written rule forbidding long-haired male students from participating in extracurricular activities. That was about to change.
Coach L. asked J. “do you have a copy of the school’s rules with you?” all the while making his way toward a shelf on the other side of the room. Then, without a pause he continued “we have one around here somewhere.”
But J. interjected. “I always keep a copy of the school policies with me,” he said while pulling a copy out of his overstuffed backpack.
Coach L. flipped through it and stated “it’s not in here” as he moved ever closer to his desired object; an old, archaic volume of the school’s policies. He picked up the old manual, opened it up to the exact page he was looking for and proceeded to read.
"In matters of personal grooming, Head Coaches shall be responsible for their decision. Coaches, at their discretion, may recommend hair cuts or hair styles best suited to their particular type of activity. Disciplinary action, for nonconformity with the coach’s recommendation, must be approved by the building principal."
Leaving the room he said, “I’ll make you a copy.”
Upon his return they had a conversation that went thusly:
"How many guys’ sports teams allow long hair?"
"None right?" was his next question.
That’s correct, was their answer.
Then he asked "How many girls’ sports teams have to cut their hair?
"None." was their only response.
Then he asked "But isn't taking one group of people and saying they have to do something this way and telling another group they have to do something another way discrimination?"
Their answer, sure enough, was yes.
Then he asked "Well then, if this school is as against discrimination as much as they claim, why are they making the males cut their hair and letting the girls have it any length?"
Coach L.'s response was "Comparing girls to guys is like comparing apples to oranges."
This was followed by J.’s "no they are not. If everyone is supposed to have equal rights, that means both men and women. Why shouldn't the girls have to cut their hair too?"
Coach L.'s then said "Girls with short hair would be going against the grain."
This conversation was making him sick. He couldn’t take it anymore. So with these final words he stood up and left. “If you’re so against this school being represented by long-haired males, you should change the school’s mascot. See-ya.”
As he walked down the horrendous path, the deserted hallway from whence he came, his mind was racing madly. His heart beat with tremendous fury.
J’s head was pounding with force no blacksmith ever knew when he arrived at the door of Mrs. R.’s Advanced Freshman Composition class. With his mind in a whirl of dense and utter darkness, he made his way into that unpleasant room, the only consolation being that he was free from that infernal office, the lair of that vile creature. Alas, this would not be the last time J. ventured into that horrid abyss…