Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Texas School Bans Self-Expression

Well, that's what the students are whining about, anyhow. Really, they just expanded their dress code to exclude "grillz" and "gauging."
Students may no longer wear mouth jewelry known as "grillz" - shiny teeth caps - or the earlobe-stretching practice known as "gauging."

"The district is having to respond to fads because they've become distracters or a safety hazard for those around them," said Malcolm Turner, the district's executive director of student services.
Maybe this is the old man emerging in me, but neither of these particularly appeal to me. "Grillz" just strike me as being gaudy and ostentatious. Granted, they started out of the hip-hop community, and that seems to be their entire purpose, still though. I think they look hideous, like that obscenely large and multi-colored jewelry you find at Famous Barr that only your grandmother and transvestites seems to love.

As for "gauging," I look at that one the same way as tattoos. Sure, you may thing putting giant holes in your ears is "cool" and "fashionable" now, but just wait until you're 40. Suddenly, you'll wonder why you made permanent changes to your body which make you now look like a circus freak.

The worst case of gauging I ever saw? I ran into a guy at Wal-Mart in Bloomington who had padlocks hanging from his ears . . . they were so stretched, the locks were sitting on his shoulders. Yeah, have fun with that when you're an adult, dude.


Steve the Troll said...

You're so judgemental, Harold. Keep in mind that freedom of personal expression is provided by the bill of rights. If they want to mess with their own bodies, it's their right to do so, isn't it?

Hal said...

Don't be so quick to assume they have that right.

After all, ear piercing requires parental permission until one is . . . 16, maybe? I can't recall, but somewhere around there. You can't have a tattoo without your parents' permission until you're 18.

And as far as rights go, most of your rights are ceded when you enter the school. That's not me speaking, that's ages worth of judicial rulings. If a school wants to curtail "freedom of expression" to whatever they will allow, the courts say they can.

And why does it make me judgmental if I think it looks stupid? That's like saying you're judgmental for having the clothing in your closet that you have and not something else.

Steve the Troll said...

This is a public school, right? I have no problem with limiting rights in private schools.

Also, do you have examples of judicial rulings that curtail peaceful forms of freedom of expression in schools? I can think of a few, but I don't see how they fit with this one. For example, you can't wear a tee-shirt with a beer brand logo on it because that promotes illegal underage consumption of alcohol...but I don't think this sort of reasoning applies to bodily transormation.

I don't even like the beer logo rule. Just because you wear the logo doesn't mean you actually drink it. It's freedom of speech, man!

You can't have organized prayer in public school, but that violates freedom of religion.

Hal said...

Well, freedom of speech (both verbal and written) is certainly curtailed in schools. There is only so much that the schools will allow, and that is within reason.

Additionally, if the school can dictate a uniform (public schools), then any clothing is not off limits.

As far as body modification, I'm not aware of anything that would deal with it. However, I doubt the school is outside the bounds of its authority in banning certain bodily modifications. Especially given the restrictions already placed upon minors from committing specific modifications.

Steve the Troll said...

What if somebody took that school district in Texas to court?

Jen said...

Like I've always said, anyone under the age of 18 is a second-class citizen in this country. Which is too bad, because there are a lot of mature teenagers and plenty of really stupid adults.

-Murphy said...


From my understanding, and in a way that adds nothing to what's being said here, ears can be gauged back down. That is, it's not so permanent as a tattoo (which, technically, can be removed too.)

Anonymous said...

HEY! I happen to love that colorful jewelry, you old fashioned hippie.

Hal said...

Hippie? Me?

Bwa ha ha ha!

I might be the last person on the planet who deserves such a title.

Hippie . . . whoo, that was good for a laugh