Andrew Jones, 18, graduated from Louisiana’s Amite High School and will head to Southeastern Louisiana University on both an academic and athletic scholarship. We salute and congratulate this young man on his achievement! Jones, however, was not allowed to walk on the stage at graduation because of his refusal to shave his facial hair pursuant to school policy. Before anyone cries out he did not follow a school rule, we should first ask if the school previously enforced this rule.
The school district says it has a policy of no facial hair on the male students. The school superintendent said Jones and his family were reminded on three occasions along with 13 other graduates about the policy. The evening of the graduation, the young men were told they had to go into the bathroom to shave their facial hair or would not be allowed to participate in the ceremony. Jones was the only graduate who refused because he said the rule was never enforced before. The local news affiliate discovered two photos of Jones with facial hair and one picture included the superintendent. The principal at Amite High was unavailable to answer why the school’s policy was not enforced throughout the school year.
Jones says he stands by his decision, though realizing he will never get another high school graduation. The young man said he shared his story so other families will not experience similar disappointment. We can argue that both sides of this issue is a teachable moment. I though side on the importance of adults being consistent when applying rules to the young people under their influence. Sabrina Davis, Jones’ aunt, said it best, “for a young man that talented, and very academic, to hold a 4.0 and still manage to be a father to his child, the sky’s the limit to me.” Andrew Jones, all the very best at SLU!