There’s a story all over the news this morning about a young man who was not allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony with his class because he had a beard.
There seem to be largely two takes on the story.
1. A rule is a rule and Andrew Jones should have followed the rule. He was given a chance to shave his beard but refused.
2. He was allowed to wear his beard all year long at school but the district decided to enforce the rule only at the graduation, therefore the rule is being arbitrarily and unfairly applied.
I have a third opinion, no surprise. Why is there such a rule in the first place? What does a beard have to do with a public education? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against rules. No running with scissors. Why? Because you might take out your eye or stab someone else in a fall. No talking in class. Why? Because it prevents the teacher from communicating the lesson.
I’m also not pretending there is no reason for the rule. It has a very definite purpose. It is a rule created to show the students who is in charge. It is a rule designed to acclimate young minds to the idea that they must follow pointless guidelines instituted by small people who delight in their trivial taste of power. Who all but masturbate because they get to enforce their will upon a captive audience.
Jones attends Amite High School in the Tangipahoa Parish School System in Louisiana. Tangipahoa Superintendent Mark Kolwe insisted the rule was fine and they would enforce it the entire year in the future rather than selectively at graduation.
Yuck. Petty bureaucrats reveling in their power and enforcing their stupidity.
Mr. Jones. You graduated. You excelled during your time in high school. Small minds stole your moment to celebrate with your fellow students. I have a lesson for you. It won’t be the last time your inferiors try to bend you to their will with useless and petty rules. Sometimes you will be tempted to forgo you principles, to shave your beard, so that you might get along. My advice? Fuck them.
If you must give up things like a graduation ceremony in order to be true to yourself, you have won. You have defeated the reptiles of the world who hope to destroy you for the simple reason that you are better than they will ever be.
Success lies ahead. Keep on your path, Mr. Jones. Stay your course.