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I have an 11 year old daughter who wants a buzz pixie, which is a pixie hair cut with one side shaved off. I am completely fine with it, but the school doesn't allow it. Should I let my daughter have this haircut?

She already has a pixie cut and at her primary school she had a buzz pixie. Ridiculously, this school is a very liberal secondary school and her primary was a very traditional only girls school. However the head of Lower School has replied to her email asking whether the school rules about no dramatic hair cuts include this hairstyle with a very confusing email, saying that it will attract the attention of her peers and she may be labelled as stuck-up and attention-seeking. However, her friends have already backed her up, saying its a great idea, and on the exam day she was just fine with hairstyle. I made her grow out as I didn't want to make a bad impression, but I think I should have let her keep it. My daughter and I have also seen a few boys with partly-shaved heads, however it is considered 'dramatic' for girls. The Lower School Head then again replied, underlining the word no.

I think that I should let her have whatever hair she wants, and I should let her express herself, but I am worried there will to much backlash from the school, a very negative experience. I am also worried she will be blamed for something I okayed, and I don't want to get suspended after receiving a very clear no.

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    Which country is this? If boys are allowed "dramatic" hair cuts but girls are not then that would seem to be sexual discrimination. Having said that, you don't know what the school did about those few boys. Also the school may have decided on this policy only after someone tried it. (Anecdote: I recall the day someone at my school came in with a badly done mohican. "Getting attention" does not begin to describe it) – Paul Johnson Dec 1 '19 at 15:54
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    Rebellion has its costs. You seem to ave named them. You need to make this decision with your daughter, not with us. She (and you) are the ones who will pay the price and/or reap the benefits. – anongoodnurse Dec 2 '19 at 14:57
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    If you ask me, I vote yes. Also, there's a bit of irony there with the headmaster of a school that has rules about haircuts claiming something might seem "stuck-up". Not only would I encourage my daughter to do this, but I would encourage her peers to follow suit. How ridiculous. – Ian MacDonald Dec 3 '19 at 20:35
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Personally, I would let her get the haircut in question over the summer break, but not during the school year. At least, I would advise my child against it.

This is entirely a matter of opinion, however. It is your child, it is her hair, and I agree with you that she should be allowed to express herself, and that the school rule seems unfair and pointless. The School Head's idea that the haircut would make other kids think poorly of her sounds like nonsense to me as well.

Unfortunately, I think your emails for clarification have likely increased the chances of a strong backlash from the school. Something that could have been a 'better to ask forgiveness than permission' gray area now looks more like an open attempt to disrespect or antagonize the School Head after getting an unequivocal no.

You may want to consider if attempting/campaigning to change the rule to permit more self expression in hair is something that you and your daughter are interested in. That could be a learning experience, or just an exercise in frustration.

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    I'm particularily agreeing with the clarification email being a red flag. While OP could have pleaded a misunderstanding until that mail, after the answer I would consider this a deliberate will to disobey. – Laurent S. Dec 4 '19 at 16:17
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Life is full of rules. Old rules that are not aligned with society anymore, rules that have been put in place to avoid a specific behavior but have an impact on a lot more people, ...

If think that learning to comply with some rules, learning to "fight" against some others, but more important learning to chose your battles are 3 lessons you (should) learn while getting older, it's part of maturity. 11 seems a good age to start this, but your daughter might need some help from you in order to assess the possible impact of her acts as she's probably too young to measure it fully.

What my approach would be:

  • Acknowledge that you find this rule absurd, but yet this is a rule. Their house, their rules. Life is full of these, growing up is also about managing the day-to-day frustrations like this.
  • Discuss about the possible consequences of disobeying
  • Discuss about the initial motivations
  • Discuss about the possible actions. It's not just a matter of cutting or not cutting, as Meg pointed out in her answer, there might be some way to have the rule changed and the reasoning to get there might also be teaching a lot. You could also for example initiate a discussion with the school head to get a better understanding of why this rule was put in place, maybe you'll be convinced.

When I'll have discussed all that I would then let my daughter decide what she wants to do, but I'd also let her take upon herself the consequences that will come, while still supporting her to some extent. Having received a clear negative answer from the school, there will certainly be consequences if ever she gets that haircut. Maybe she will regret, maybe she will be glad, anyway she will have learned a bit more about taking decisions, owning up to consequences and choosing her battles.

NOTE: This is only my opinion but I personally think this is a very vain battle to fight. As much as I find it absurd to set rules on this matter, I find it absurd to fight these rules... Getting a buzz pixie or not will probably not have an meaningful impact on her life nor the life of other students. I consider the freedom to do it to be very low in the ranking of freedoms to fight for. Similarly I find a haircut a very poor way of expressing yourself. This is why although I hate dress codes of any kind, I've stopped fighting them and now prefer to just avoid places or occasions with a strict dresscode, or comply if I can't avoid. I personally hope that if my daughter wants to fight for a rights in the future, she'll do it for more meaningful rights than this.

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    Seeing as a school is typically not a house that one can simply opt not to visit, I don't think "their house, their rule" is a very useful construct. Institutions should be inclusive. – David Hedlund Dec 5 '19 at 10:38
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    @DavidHedlund > Here in Belgium we have the luxury to be able to choose which school we go to so my point of view might not be applicable as I don't know whether this is also the case for OP. I know of places (France for example) where the school you have to go is decided based on where you live (city, neighborhood,...), if that's the case for the OP then indeed they have no alternative but to comply or face consequences as avoiding is not an option. – Laurent S. Dec 5 '19 at 15:00
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    Sure, that may well be the case where OP's from as well, but changing schools is still a major deal, and doesn't, to me, negate my comment. I wouldn't consider it off the table, though, given the little I've heard. Again, institutions should be inclusive. – David Hedlund Dec 5 '19 at 15:20
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    @DavidHedlund Besides, who says it's their house? Speaking as a teacher, I'm pretty sure I'm in your pay. We're in loco parents, teaching your kids on your behalf. – Luke Sawczak Dec 6 '19 at 21:42
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    @DavidHedlund, to me the construct "their house, their rule" is independent of if you can avoid visiting. It is more about who has the right to set (in my view) silly rules. – Bart van Ingen Schenau Dec 7 '19 at 7:32
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Yes, I think that it has something do do with her sex but I hate that schools don't let the kids do what they want to do. My daughter had the same issue. I talked to the school board about changing the rules about the style and color of hair. It got approved but nothing seemed to change. I took my daughter to the hair salon and she got purple hair and she loved it. Two days later I got a note home from her teacher that her hair is inappropriate for school. I told my daughter that she didn't have to change her hair just because her school wanted her too. So I believe that you should let your daughter do whatever she wants to do to her hair no matter what the school says.

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