Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Beard, A Graduation And Stubborness Make A Big Mess in Amite, Louisiana

Amite, Louisiana High School valedictorian was
not allowed to participate in graduation ceremony or give his
speech because he refused the principal's
demands to shave his goatee. 
Andrew Jones was the valedictorian of Amite High School in Louisiana, having earned straight A's and academic and athletic scholarships to college.

Yet, he wasn't allowed to march in his graduation or give his valedictorian speech.


Because he has a bit of a beard. More of a goatee, really.

I'm not sure how a little facial hair could possibly get in the way of academic success and a graduation ceremony, but people are weird, as we all know.

School administrators said no facial hair is allowed on students at the school. Jones, and a few others were told by the Amite High School principal just before the graduation that they could not have beards. They must shave.

Jones refused to do so. Yeah, I know, stubborn kid.

But really. His faint beard doesn't seem to be the most important issue in the world.

And the school's position was undermined because, although the no beard policy is supposedly always in effect, lots of photos show students at Amite High School all year with facial hair, as television station WVUE reports. 

There was never any enforcement of the no facial hair rule all year. Why the sudden demand for freshly shaved faces at graduation, after a full academic year of bearded male students? The Amite High School principal isn't talking.

But he did force Jones out of the graduation ceremony, so no speech, not proud moment of getting a diploma as beaming relatives watched.

Because a beard - and the high school principals' inflated sense of authority - squashed that idea.   No facial hair at this school, no siree. Facial hair is MUCH more important an issue than academics, let me tell ya.

I'm sure the principal of the high school is proud that he is leading the charge to make all men clean shaven.

Jones is black and most of the Amite High School administration is white, so people are raising the idea of racism.

It's possible. An uppity black kid in a rural Southern town being valedictorian instead of a "more deserving" white kid?  I can see how people with bigoted minds might think that way.

I really hope I'm wrong about that. We can't know for sure. I do know the NAACP is getting involved with this. 

Meanwhile, the whole thing has caused a national uproar and is a big trending topic on Facebook.

All because of a bit of stubborness from a smart kid. And a lot of juvenile pettiness from one stupid high school principal.

I hope the principal is enjoying all this sudden negative publicity.

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