Change of the Earring rule at James Hargest College

Change of the Earring rule at James Hargest College

6 February 2022
Petition to
Mr M Newell and
Signatures: 293Next goal: 500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Miles Young

The current rule about earrings is as follows

“one plain gold or silver stud (not ear-rings) in each earlobe.”

This rule (quoted from the official James Hargest College website), while reasonable for it’s time, is outdated and simply causing trouble in the classroom for many people.

For teachers, having to reprimand and enforce such a rule is just taking up valuable learning time, especially when a student cannot take the earring out for medical reasons (infection, disturbing the healing). When teachers are asked to do this it interrupts the whole class, not just that student.

This rule also is not necessary for students. While students are wearing extra jewelry like earrings they are not disturbing their classmates, or distracting themselves. They are also not injuring anyone by doing this (body modification does not count as injury).

In the case of parents, yes they could be concerned about their kids getting piercings. But let me remind those who are reading this that under the age of 16 piercings like these (cartilage or facial) need parental consent, and over the age of 16 they are considered old enough to make decisions like this in a sound manner. This means that if a parent is concerned about their child getting these piercings it is either not their decision, or they have no reason to worry.

As the school (via representatives) have mentioned in person to myself and others, the earrings are also considered to be unfair to students who can not afford to get one. While this may be true, that is not the fault of the person getting the piercing, and they should not be reprimanded. To support this the same could be said about phones, and while we are not allowed to use them in class (because they are considered distracting), we are outside of class. So why do we get reprimanded for our jewelry 24/7 by the school when there are more lax rules on actual distractions?

The school also said that the earrings are somehow bad, as we are representing our schools when we wear our uniform. So why are earrings considered bad by the school? This I do not know, but other reputable high schools like the following do not have a ban on earrings (going by their websites uniform rules).

  • Southland Boys High Schoo
  • Southland Girls High School
  • Aurora College

These schools do not have earring rules listed on their website, and are still considered some of the more well known high schools in Invercargill. Wearing earrings is not defamation of the school’s character, it is simply a mode of expression for students.

Feilding High School had a similar problem. Taine Humphrey petitioned last year for a change of his school’s rules banning males to have long hair. While the rule is different he brings up a lot of similar points, specifically around distraction. Taine  As well as this, PPTA President Jack Boyle, while talking about gender based earring rules said "We have seen no evidence that earrings or other jewellery affects a child's quality of learning." while he was talking about gender based rules, the point stands. It does not affect the quality of learning.

By banning the earrings it is harmful to the student’s mental and physical wellbeing. Tattoos and piercings have always been considered a way of expressing oneself through their body. By taking this away from us you are not allowing us to express ourselves the way we want to, and putting us in perfect student shaped boxes to fit your unreasonable criteria. And it certainly feels that way too.

Physically, if an earring is still healing, taking it out could result in infection, which could lead to blood poisoning, and keloids (raised, discoloured scarring). This is quite obviously damaging and not good for the student. 

So after all this evidence on why the rule needs changing, here are the new rule we propose:

“Students are allowed to pierce their ears as they wish, but earrings that are worn must not dangle below the jaw (for risk of injury in workshops, labs, etc), and must not make noise (jingling, etc so as to not distract anyone).”

This rule means that any negative consequences of the previous rule is stopped, but also any potential problems that may arise are prevented, like injury in a workshop or lab, or distraction to other students or teachers.

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Signatures: 293Next goal: 500
Support now