Seoul City to Ban Draconian Appearance Rules at School

      January 30, 2012 12:43

      Schoolchildren in Seoul will soon be allowed to dye or perm their hair after the education authorities decided to ban Draconian rules about what they may and may not look like.

      Seoul education chief Kwak No-hyun announced a new ordinance on students' rights last Thursday prohibiting schools from restricting the hairstyles of students and giving a lot more freedom in terms of attire.

      At present, most of the 1,200 schools in Seoul have regulations for hairstyles and attire of students. They typically ban perms and dyes and regulate hair length.

      Now teachers worry that students will go overboard with accessories. The Seoul Education Office says it is discussing whether to put limits on piercing, tattoos, wigs, make-up and accessories.

      A middle school teacher in northeastern Seoul said, "Already kids are secretly putting on powder and lip gloss in the restrooms and we are busy confiscating them. Things are only going to get worse."

      Under the ordinance, teachers who try to stop students from perming or dying their hair face punitive measures for restricting their rights. For example, a pupil can file a report against a teacher who "recommends" that the student straightens out the perm. If an investigation finds that this is true, the teacher could be punished.

      But critics worry that the added weight given to the subjective feelings of students could lead to problems.

      The Seoul Education Office said it is looking at authorizing "guidance" should a youngster's appearance cause alarm to others. But some teachers worry that such guidance could be misinterpreted.

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