Mon, Feb 27, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Most schools easing hairstyle rules

NEW POLICY A survey by the Ministry of Education found that more than half of the nation's high schools have abandoned rules regulating students' hairstyles

By Jean Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

One semester after restrictions on high-school students' hairstyles were lifted, the Ministry of Education yesterday said that most of the nation's schools had accepted the policy and were gradually implementing it.

The ministry banned limits on the hairstyles of high-school students last August after students petitioned for the regulation to be overturned.

Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) responded positively to the petition, and promised that the hair regulations would be banned.

The ministry later issued a bulletin to officially announce the new policy, which was started last semester.

In response, 739 junior high schools in 25 cities and counties reported back to the ministry, and the department of military training education surveyed 479 high schools in the country regarding the new regulations.

Among those, 792 schools, or 65.02 percent of the schools included in the ministry's surveys and reports, had completely dropped restrictions, while 426 have not yet lifted all limits.

Out of the 426 schools, 421 now refrain from punishing students regarding hairstyles and instead "gently urge" students to abide by the rules, ministry officials said.

The remaining five schools still punish students for sporting longer hair and "bizarre hairstyles," officials added.

Ministry officials said in the 2004 school year, only 73 schools had no hair restrictions, while a whopping 1,145, or 94.01 percent, did.

This indicates that teachers and parents are communicating with students and that schools have started to respect and trust students, they said.

It also means that the schools are trusting students to manage their own affairs and make their own decisions, they added.

Lin Wei (林緯), a student at a private high school in Taipei, said that although the hair restrictions have not been completely lifted at his school, teachers did not regulate student hairstyles unless they were "way too flamboyant."

He said that new regulations at school only banned students from having hairstyles such as "dinosaur hair" for girls -- hair shaped like a mullet in the back, and "porcupine hair" for boys -- long, spiky hair.

Regulations on students' hairstyles and dress were first introduced in 1969 by the ministry. Secondary-school boys were required to sport crew cuts, while girls' hair had to be ear-length and neither dyed nor permed.

The education ministry actually scrapped its guidelines on secondary school students' hairdos 17 years ago, but most schools continued to maintain their own strict rules on hair.

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