Distractions, Professionalism or Self-Expression?

Diego Morales: 11th Grade (left top corner) Tatiana Uribe: 12th Grade (bottom left corner and top right corner) and Martina Flores: 12th Grade (bottom right). Students here at DVC are able to express themselves through their physical appearance.

Diego Morales: 11th Grade (left top corner) Tatiana Uribe: 12th Grade (bottom left corner and top right corner) and Martina Flores: 12th Grade (bottom right). Students here at DVC are able to express themselves through their physical appearance.

Milan Washington , Staff Writer

In St. Louis, Missouri it was reported that, Savannah Keesee, a junior at West County High School in St. Francois County was sent home due to her hair not being a “natural color” which was said to be in violation of their school’s dress code.

In the report, Savannah’s mother told KTVI, “she just wanted it a little bit different,” keeping in mind her hair was naturally red (she dyed her hair auburn).

Savannah was told her hair violates the school’s dress and grooming code. According to their school handbook, “Non-natural hair colors will not be permitted. For example, green, purple, blue, etc.”

Over the years, it has been argued across the nation whether school policies against students coloring their hair or having body modifications are fair and reasonable.

When people choose to dye their hair, it is a choice of self-expression. Individuals choose to make a change to their appearance to feel more comfortable. If their way of expressing themselves is through bright pink hair or unique piercings then that is completely up to them.

Jennifer Lynn Johnson, a senior at Da Vinci Communications explained, It’s cute and felt like my face needed some bedazzling,” regarding her nose ring.

She first got her nose jewelry back in 2016 during the summer. She shared that she “feels naked when its taken out,” but “liberated” as she is allowed to keep in her nose ring while at school.

Johnson stated, “If I went to another school and they told me I couldn’t wear my hair how I wanted to wear my hair or had to take out my piercing I would feel disrespected. Like, you don’t have to wear it so why does it matter,” she said, having a great appreciation for her school.

Thankfully, DVC acknowledges that every student is apart of a culture that supports individuality and creativity, allowing students to style their hair in any way or color, supports their body art, and never questions their choice in piercings.

Published on The Times-Picayune, writer Sandra Barbier reported: “East St. John High School Principal Patricia Triche unleashed a small hurricane when she instituted a rule requiring students to cover their tattoos,” which led to many students receiving in-school suspensions.

Adam Eynon, the Assistant Principal at DVC, talks about how at Da Vinci self-expression just “speaks volumes about who we are and our culture. We encourage kids to express themselves which is apart of our culture.”

“I’m fully supportive of it, you know. I want kids to show who they are without hiding themselves,” Eynon expressed. “I’ve had students in the past show up with piercing all over their faces and like what they were wearing had these studs, and it was just like crazy looking stuff but that was just him expressing himself and it was cool like, whatever, if a kid is gonna be comfortable at school and is gonna learn why not let him dress that way.”

According to Lisa Flam, a writer for Today, at least 57% of public high schools reported that they enforce strict dress codes. It seems absurd that people today still have traditional views on how students should express themselves. It shouldn’t have to be a school’s decision to decide what a student gets to do with their body.

In the article, “Psychological Reasons That Teenagers Get Tattoos,” written by Keith Hillman, its shown that there are a variety of reasons as to why teenagers make the decision to change their appearance.

“One possible explanation for a teenager’s decision to get tattoos is explained by the psychological terms ‘individuation’ and ‘identity formation’,” which is researched by psychologist Erik Erikson as “identity versus role confusion.”

To put it simply, at the age of adolescence a large number of teens struggle with their identity according to Hillman. 

A teenager is more likely to feel the need to express their emotions. “One of the common reasons that people get tattoos is to show something is important to them or to generally express themselves,” said Hillman. “In many cases though, teenagers get tattoos simply because they want to and because they think it suits them.”

As a message, Eynon, “Highly will encourage students not to get tattoos until you’re at least in your mid-twenties. What’s cool now as a teenager when you’re 18, you’re gonna grow up your gonna change a little bit, and it probably won’t be cool when you 25.” 

Though he also believes, “If you’re gonna get something, get something with meaning don’t just get something for the sake of getting one, as for him both of his tattoos stem from “life-changing moments” that he chooses to carry with him as a reminder like a “to-do list on my body.”

For any students in school especially here at DVC are thinking of making a change, as Jennifer’Lyn says, “Just go for it”.