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“I refused to shave because I felt as if that was ridiculous being that I went the whole school year with my facial hair,” he told The Post in a text message. “Plus, students from other schools in the district who graduated earlier that week marched with their facial hair, so why couldn’t I?”

Jones said he refused several times — then they asked for his gown.

“My parents came down and had a conversation with the school board members, discussing why they weren’t letting me march,” he said, “but it seemed as the superintendent wasn’t trying to hear anything they had to say.”

He added: “I just watched my graduation from the stands.”

Davis said Jones, a teenage father, worked hard in school, earning a 4.0 GPA and excelling in sports — track, football and basketball.


“High school is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be your moment, your memory,” she said. “They snatched that away from him.”

Davis said she did not understand why Jones’s facial hair had not been an issue during the school year.

Kolwe, the superintendent, did not explain to ABC News why the policy had not been enforced throughout the year but said the “principal was attempting to enforce the policy for graduation purposes.”

“The board has a policy and we have to adhere to the policy until it gets changed,” Kolwe told ABC News. “Until it changes, I’m responsible for following it.”

This story might be the dumbest of the year.  If the young man had a beard the entire school year, and said beard was against school policy, it should have been dealt with then,  Actually I don’t think a school system can force anyone to shave.

Louisiana ought to be glad that this kid is graduating.  He sounds like a responsible student with a great GPA.  The valedictorian needs to sue the school system.  I feel confident he will win.  I am glad he didn’t cave in.

11 Thoughts to “Bearded student barred from his own graduation”

  1. punchak

    OK to attend school with beard but off with it for graduation!
    I’m appalled.

  2. Steve Thomas

    I am disappointed. I am all for having a dress-code and grooming standards, but any standard that is selectively and arbitrarily enforced, is no standard, and therefore, when it is enforced, it is a tyranny.

    It was a highschool graduation…not a graduation from Marine Corps Boot Camp. He earned the top-spot.

    This young man, through his conduct and hard work, has demonstrated that which we used to honor in this country, merit through excellence. My hope is he does not let this stop him from continuing on his path to be a successful & productive citizen. Considering his past performance, I suspect this will only serve to drive him harder in a positive direction.

    1. I am all for dress codes also. But this isn’t one of those times. Facial hair on an 18 year old in a public school? I agree with Steve, this graduation isn’t from the Marine Corps Boot Camp.

      I hope this young man continues and stops by his local lawyer’s office. He was selectively deprived of an honor that should have been his.

  3. Joe George

    The only reason a student should not have facial hair is if he’s in JROTC. Other than that, let your manly hair grow!!

    1. Welcome, Joe. Thanks for commenting on my blog. I agree.

    2. Steve Thomas

      @Joe George


      I agree. The only reason a school should prohibit certain hair-styles or facial hair would be if there was some practical reason. Say a football or baseball player’s hair interfered with proper safety equipment, and also, your point of JROTC where cadets are required to maintain military grooming standards.

      A lost bit of history…prior to WWI, soldiers could grow beards, when in the field. The risk of a staff infection from a dirty straight razor was very real. Most think it was the lice in the trenches that prompted the change. It wasn’t. It was the invention of poison gas. Those with beards couldn’t get a good seal on their gas-masks, and were injured or died as a result. The modern safety razor, with disposable blades was invented as a result, enabling a clean shave, with less danger of a skin infection.

      When I first joined the Corps. the Navy allowed sailors to grow beards while at sea…until the Soviets tested chem-bio weapons for use against naval surface vessels. The Navy fazed the beards out. The Submariners resisted, as they were not vulnerable to gas attacks, and well, a Sub guy with a beard just looked cool. Eventually, they bowed to pressure.

      If I didn’t work in corporate sales, I’d have a beard. A Celtic beard.

      1. Thanks for the info. Very interesting.

      2. Joe George

        @Steve Thomas

        Steve, thank you for the interesting Naval lesson. I’m still glad I’m former Army. As soon as I was done, I grew out my goatee.

      3. Mr. Howler was clean-shaven for years while he worked for corporate. After he retired he grew out a full beard. That got a little much so he has to go get groomed about every 3 weeks so he doesn’t look like a wolf’s a**. He did not do this of his own accord, the first time. I think what pushed him over the edge was NOT what I said, but what his granddaughter said….that he was starting to look like a homeless person.

  4. George S. Harris

    Why do I somehow think this is tied to Islamaphobia? I agree that the school is absolutely in the wrong and I hope that he will find a way to shuck it off and move on. He has proven he has the skills to succeed so this should not slow him down.

    BTW-Some beards, turbans and some “body art”are allowed for certain religious groups in the military on a case by case basis. The first was Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, an Army doctor and Afghanistan combat veteran who was granted a religious accommodation by the US army in October 2009.

    1. Thank you again, George, for your Memorial Day piece that will appear tomorrow am.
      For those who don’t know, George is our poet laureate. He always delivers.

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