The stupidity of some school authorities

The BBC reports on a young lad, Rhys Johnson, who shaved his head to raise funds for a charity cancer. He raised several hundred pounds – and got disciplined by Milford Haven School. Why? Because his shaved head contravenes the school’s dress code. Seriously?

For starters do the authorities as Milford Haven School know this is 2013 and not 1813? I can understand some school regulations on appearance but find it hard to believe they are this Victorian-minded on things like a student’s hair. I’m not aware of any serious academic studies proving a link between follicle length of adolescents and cognitive abilities. I’d imagine they think this sort of petty rule enforcement ‘makes better, more disciplined students’. In fact it pretty much tends to make most schoolkids think their teachers are buffoons and idiots who delight in imposing inane rules just to annoy their powerless young charges and makes it more likely they will grow up with a strong distrust of authority figures (mind you, that is not a bad thing!). And then to enforce the letter of this rule even in a case like this? This shows astonishing inflexibility and utter stupidity from those in charge at that school. A young boy does something to help raise money for charity, to do something good, school punishes him for it. Way to teach a valuable lesson there, you utter, moronic, rule-bound idiots.

Some 250 of his fellow students walked out in protest at this injustice – the school authorities say they are “disappointed” at their actions. Again, really? Disappointed that so many of your student body saw what they perceive to be an injustice and stood up publicly with their fellows to make a stand against it? Excuse me, but aren’t those the sort of values we want to teach our children??? Do something to make the world a bit better, see injustice and stand up in opposition to it. Good for Rhys, good for his fellow students, utter shame on the hidebound, inflexible fools who are supposedly educating them.

Exams

Just had a quick look at Matthews blog – he is suffering from that dreadful pestilence on humanity, examinations. I would have to agree with him that exams are a very poor way of ascertaining the quality of a students knowledge. I was fortunate in that most of my work on my honours course was course work, essays, dissertation and the like. The authorities forced us to have at least a couple of subject each semester measured by the old fashioned exam method. Our psychology lecturer spent a semester telling us why that system was a ridiculous way to ascertain knowledge and understanding. The discovered his subject had been picked that year to be the exam-not-essay sacrifice. He nicely removed the subject of psychological implications of stress from the exam as he figured that the last thing we needed in a stressful exam situation was to answer a question on stress.

So I do have some sympathy with Matthew and, after all, moaning about actually having to do studying and coursework is an essential part of any degree work. Gives him an excuse not to be writing his Firefly piece for the Alien. Sorry, Matt; couldnt resist a wee dig while you are down. And it is nice to see Firefly finally coming to the UK SciFi Channel. Pity it is after the show was canned. Matt has sung the praises of this last effort by the god-like Joss Wheddon for a while now and must be getting excited that at least it is going to get some UK exposure, even if it is posthumous. Firefly, Farscape, Wtichblade – why is it all these damned good shows keep getting cancelled while vacuous garbage like Fear Factor and Temptation Island go on?