At Saint Cloud High School, we have many rules in place that are made to keep us safe, but not so much. Some of them are meant to restrict our creativity and expression. When students dye their hair or pierce their bodies, they’re just expressing their creativity through their personal appearance.
Ken Robinson, a speaker and international advisor on education, said, “creativity now is as important in education as literacy.”
In our school environment, the administration deems that it is their job to police the hair color or the number of piercings of experimenting teenagers.
When someone says the word ‘creativity’ most minds go to the arts and music, so not many people think about their expression of changing their looks.
When teenagers dye their hair, they’re experimenting to see what they like and don’t like; it allows them to change their appearance if only for a short amount of time. According to the school, unnaturally dyed hair causes a distraction. The unnatural colors are only temporary and wash out after a couple of washes. If it normalized, it would be more widely accepted.
Students might also express themselves by piercing their facial features to make a change in their appearance. In our school, we are only allowed one facial piercing. For example, if a student wants a nose piercing and a lip piercing, then they would have to choose between the two to put a piece of jewelry in. Also, our school limits the creative expression of piercings by banning jewelry that is not a stud or spacer. If someone would want a nose ring, for example, they wouldn’t be allowed to because it's a ring.
Self-esteem is also a factor of how well students do in school. For some students dye their hair or pierce their faces, it brings up their self-esteem.
According to Bob Cunningham, an education leader who focuses on children who learn and think differently, kids are “more likely to stand up for themselves and ask for help when they need it.” If students have higher self-esteem, then they can do those things.
When students feel better about themselves, they're more engaged in the classroom and are more willing to learn. High self-esteem can help a student focus because they're not worrying about what others think of them.
Showing up with new colorful hair and new piercings can make students excited to show up to school. If a student is excited to show their friends and teachers their new hair color or piercings, then they’re willing to sit through the school day. When someone does notice then it makes them feel better about themselves theoretically it makes them more willing to speak in front of the class.
Stifling student's self-expression is not the way to get students excited for school. The reason students should have the right to do anything that they want is because it is their face and their bodies and not the schools.