Saturday, December 8, 2012

Teenagers respond to the PHS Dreadlock Gate

I was talking to some teenagers in my family about the issue of Dreadlock Gate that is currently playing out over at Peoria High School. Here are some of their thoughts:

from pjstar
"Out of all of the things that Mr. Ruffin does to students, he gets suspended for this?"

"Rahkim's hair is neatly pulled back. In girls sports we are required to pull our hair back and use a band that doesn't have metal; why can't the boy's teams do that?"

"In ballet class we HAVE to wear a bun."

Chicago Bull's Joakim Noah
"Dr. Lathan wears braids sometimes of course she is going to stand up for Rahkim."

"Why they messing with Coach Ruffin? Parents complain about teachers all the time and they don't care. She just don't like Coach Ruffin."

#keepingitreal
Frankly, this is a no win situation for The District. I personally find the whole incident very unfortunate, because it is bringing scrutiny to how a large number of people, mainly African-American, wear their hair.

Sports aside - some of us got hair issues that play into how we as people interact with each other. 

I have people in my family who wear dreads/braids/locks and it is possible to pull them back very neatly AND professionally, if necessary. There is nothing wrong with Rakhim's dreads, if that is how he wants to wear his hair. A requirement to cut if you want to play is extreme.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

How about we let them wear the basketball shorts around their knees too. What the heck, let them smoke a "blunt" during a time out (sarcasm, of course). Emerge, there has to be rules or chaos runs rampant. We didn't like "rules" when we were in school either, but we made it through. Please reconsider your stance. Basketball is not a RIGHT.

Anonymous said...

There have to be rules, but the rules should make sense and be fair. And speaking of rules, didn't Danny get suspended for allegedly NOT following the rules?

This should be a simple matter, but some people are having a difficult time adapting to change.

Anonymous said...

If the issue were just about the "hair" requirement to demonstrate self-discipline and team spirit, then the superintendent could have just had a professional discussion with the coach seeking to understand or work out a change in policy. The issue is not so much the policy as it is the punishment of the coach--the manner in which it was handled. This policy has been in place for decades so why is this coach punished? Why didn't the superintendent ask that the policy be revisited and perhaps changed? Why are the only people in District 150 being disciplined the staff? One often hears that there is a mentality that these teachers just don't know how to teach these kids. Perhaps, we should start hearing, "This superintendent just doesn't know how to lead this staff!"

Anonymous said...

Perhaps some didn't read the previous PJStar story by Pam Adams. Lathan told Ruffin and the other coaches back in 2010 about the problem with requiring players to cut their hair. The policy was officially changed then. Ruffin acknowledges that. Unofficially, it seems, the coaches continued the original policy, and that's why Ruffin was suspended.

Anonymous said...

When my son played middle school baseball and track, he was told to get his hair cut above the eyebrows and ears. I took him to get a hair cut. If you want to play sports, you have to follow the rules. I do not know what is so difficult about that to understand.

Frustrated said...

My child played 2 varsity sports for District 150 and each of her coaches took no prisoners. There were many rules that had to be followed or else no play. There was no exceptions made.

Both coaches were extremely dedicated and I felt outstanding examples of what dedicated teachers should look like. They were interested in not only building great sports teams but building great students that understand what hard work, sacrifice, and discipline mean.

In a less than stellar District, Mr. Ruffin seems like a standout. Look at the opportunities that have been opened up for some of his players to attend college, play professionally, I mean really . . . one bench player, not even committed to the program should not be able to derail a dedicated coaches career and leave the players that are working hard without a head coach. . . again, really.

I think this whole matter is a tragedy.

Anonymous said...

A bench player derailing Ruffin's career? That's laughable. Maybe Ruffin should have followed the rules set before him? So much for practicing what you preach.

Anonymous said...

I think the coach should require them all to shave their heads. That'll build team unity and instill needed discipline. Rules are rules and the coach should make the rules.

Anonymous said...

When my son became active in team sports I worried that there might be a gay on the team who would come on to him in the shower after a game. Thankfully the coach had a rule against gays. Of course, some later administrator told the coaches that they couldn't have them rules anymore.

Basketball is NOT a right!!!

Anonymous said...

I wish it were simply about hair. It's also about power - who has it and how they use it and how some respond when losing it.

Sharon Crews said...

The main problem is that Lathan doesn't discuss anything--just puts out edicts from on high. Changing semester courses to year-long courses is yet another example. Soon her micromanaging will backfire when the board realizes that she has usurped their authority over and over again. She doesn't care how anyone from Peoria feels--she does little to get the feel of this community. With whom did she consult before suspending Danny Ruffin? Did she even talk to him?

Anonymous said...

Read the district policies. It is the SUPERINTENDENT who has the authority to suspend non-professional school personnel. Lathan does exactly what the board wants her to do - and most of that is to implement and interpret, when necessary, the broad policies set out by the board. The board really doesn't want to get involved with an issue like whether basketball players have to cut their hair or not.

Sharon Crews said...

Please tell us where to locate the policies about suspending coaches. I have taken a cursory look at policies and couldn't find any information. I think we would all do well to know the policy--I honestly do not know what role the superintendent and/or the board play in suspensions of extra-curricular sponsors, coaches, etc.

Anonymous said...

Kids cut your damn hair and that neck Tattoo you are thinking about is not a good idea either.

Anonymous said...

The policy is under Section 5:290

Sharon Crews said...

I don't believe 5:290 has anything to do with this situation. I don't think it has anything to do with coaches, etc. Also, suspensions, I believe, are permitted superintendent's actions when an employee is being investigated, etc., in preparation for a hearing, etc.

Obviously, suspensions of employees with regard to teachers are the result of board action because these actions are mentioned in board minutes.

Anonymous said...

I smell lawsuit Lathan over step her power and Ruffin was denied his rights. Lathan didn't follow the rules, think we could get her to step down for 5 school board meetings.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lathan obviously has never been a team player. If it is truly all about the kidsthen why do so many kids have to suffer for the choices of the few? High school sports are a privilege and not a right. The sense of entitlement Mr. Alston and Dr. Lathan, et al allow is destroying our community and our country. Sacrifice and work to earn privileges are what made this country stong. It also gave me the chance to be the first in my family to earn a college degree and pay it forward by teaching in a District that has some great kids with unfortunate circumstances. The greatest unfortunate circumstance is that the District is run from the Dark Tower and ruled by the Evil Queen. We need leaders that are leading by being informed by getting to know our educators and kids, instead of leading through intimidation and surrounding themselves with less than professional sucks ups that are only concerned with self preservation at the cost of others. I hope the anti-bullying bill passes into law in January. Then we can send this tyrant packing. In the mean time I may need a new job due to the retaliation I will probably receive for expressing my constitutional rights of freedom of speech.

Yours Truly,

RW - Loose Cannon

Free Ruffy said...

NOBODY PUTS RUFFY IN A CORNER!!!

anony2 said...

I don't understand when following the rules became something children/students no longer need to do in D150. Curse, spit, punch, throw a chair, come to school on time, come to school at all, bring a weapon, start a fight, and on and on and on. The kids are doing as they please. Parents with NO interaction with their child's teacher are able to get suspensions overturned. Coaches are getting suspended for not following a district policy on something the district has no policy on. It is out of control on Wisconsin.

Anyone who's been reading the blog for awhile knows what the teachers and others have been complaining about with this superintendent for a couple years now. It is ridiculous she continues to flex her "I'm so freaking imporant" muscle and make Peoria look like the land of fools. I don't think this is about basketball or hair. I think this is about the Lathanator wanting control over one more aspect of 150. "I am all powerful and ye shall listen to me. I order you to serve a 5 game suspension. I AM THE BOSS HERE! You have NO rights in Lathanland."

What happens inside the schools reflects on a city by what happens on the streets and what shows up on the front page of the paper. Every citizen in Peoria needs to be concerned with the complete lack of accountability our children are being taught inside 150 schools. Those of us in the trenches, parents and teachers alike who are inside these buildings, have been trying to scream from the rooftops about what is happening. Sadly, many have quit screaming and are enrolling their children elsewhere, completely moving, and teachers are finding jobs in other districts. These are teachers who have dedicated years and years of service to the children of Peoria and have lived through Hinton, Royster, et al and Lathan has driven them out. That ought to tell someone something and yet, still, noone is listening.

So sad.............

Anonymous said...

Under the Board Policies, there are rules for Professional employees, like teachers, and different rules for Educational Support employees, of which coaches and trainers are specifically referenced. Section 5:290 applies to the latter and gives the Superintendent more say over these Educational Support employees, including the ability to suspend them.

Sharon Crews said...

Section 5:290 is under the section entitled Educational Support Personnel. My Note: I don’t see that this policy has much to do with teachers, etc., who have extra-curricular responsibilities. Coaches seem to be in a category by themselves—only because of the section about training programs and licenses.
This section states that Educational Support Personnel (3) are subject to Board policies as they may be changed from time-to-time at the Board’s sole discretion.
The only mention of coaches states: Athletic coaches and trainers shall have the qualifications required by any association in which the School District maintains a membership. Regardless of whether the athletic activity is regulated by an association, all coaches must have completed a course on coaching principles and sport first aid. The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that all coaches have completed appropriate training programs. Anyone performing athletic training services shall be licensed under the Illinois Athletic Trainers Practice Act.
MY NOTE: The following seems to indicate that such employees can be suspended by the Superintendent but only while the employee awaits a hearing (implication by someone other than the superintendent). I don’t see that Ruffin’s actions in any way qualify for a suspension according to this policy.
Except as provided below, the Superintendent is authorized to suspend an employee without pay as a disciplinary measure, during an investigation into allegations of misconduct, or pending a dismissal hearing whenever, in the Superintendent's judgment, the employee's presence is detrimental to the District. A disciplinary suspension shall be with pay (1) when the employee is exempt from the overtime provisions of the federal wage and hour laws, or (2) until an employee with an employment
contract for a definite term is provided a notice and hearing according to the suspension policy for professional employees.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say, I saw the Central players at the game Friday night. When they walked onto the floor before the game, they were so nicely dressed. The boys had nice haircuts and together, they made such a professional statement. Kudos to the Central coach for attempting to keep the tradition of pride. I am a manual fan at heart, but I think they need some swagg.

Anonymous said...

"the Superintendent is authorized to suspend an employee without pay as a
disciplinary measure," STOP

"during an investigation into allegations of misconduct," STOP

"OR pending a dismissal
hearing"

"whenever, in the Superintendent's judgment, the employee's presence is detrimental to the
District."


2 Anon said...

Somebody from NC has finally looked up school code. Yay! About time. But, don't skew it so it reads the way you want it to.

Anonymous said...

There is a reason there is a comma after the word "misconduct". I would expect teachers (current or former) to understand the significance of such punctuation.

Sharon Crews said...

So when is the hearing and who will be running the hearing? Who is conducting the investigation? What was the misconduct? And how was Ruffin's conduct detrimental to the District? This whole policy seems to deal with personal misconduct. Danny Ruffin didn't conduct himself in any way that could be considered detrimental to the District.
Also, when Lathan "changed" the policy on hairstyles was it in writing and was it sent to other coaches at other schools? How "official" was this change?

Anonymous said...

SMDH....

Anonymous said...

Dr. Latham gets her dictatorial powers from the school board. They must go! Unfortunately due to a lack of candidates and voter apathy, they will remain and so will Dr. Latham. I pray a better job will come along and she will leave, but I don't really wish her wrath to be experienced by anyone.

I am lucky. My students and the students I advise still respect me and do what I ask of them. I can see the time coming when that may not happen and I know that I will not be backed up by my building supervisors. I have seven years left and hope that I make it.

Anonymous said...

Let's see. A few years ago a school employee who is also a coach, physically abused a student during the school day and received a one-day suspension but did not miss coaching that night. An assistant coach tells a student that if he wants the privilege of being on the team, he has to cut his hair so the head coach gets a five-game suspension. Makes sense.

Anonymous said...

I was just told by a friend of my daughter's that he was a long term sub. at Woodruff and quit. He saw a teacher get a desk thrown at her and her arm got broke. Guess what? the student was back in class the next day.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't surprise me at all.