The police officer arrived at the doorstep with the letter. “We’re serving you a citation for failing to have your son’s hair trimmed at the local barber shop.”
“I cut my son’s hair at home,” the woman answered.
“Are you a professional? Do you have a license?” he asked.
“No, but I know what he needs and I’m pretty good with a pair of scissors,” she said.
“Oh and I suppose you could be a cop because you’re handy with a gun?” he responded.
“I could still do a citizens arrest, can’t I?” she asked.
He grumbled for a moment and added, “It is obvious to us that you’re not doing an adequate job. Look at your son’s hair.”
“Because it’s uncut?” she asked.
“That’s how he wants it,” she said.
“It’s not about a child’s desires. It’s about preparation for college and career. How in the world will your child will your child make it in the world with hippie hair? It’s unprofessional. It’s not how they wear it in the real world. His hair should match his classmates.”
“I would rather him be an individual.”
“You say that, but your child is missing out on valuable socialization that happens at the barber shop.”
“We tried that and it didn’t work for him. Most of the time, it’s the barber talking to my son. There isn’t much true socialization. Besides, he plays sports. He hangs out with the neighbor kids.”
“Look, if you don’t show up, we have to fire some of the barbers. It’s a threat to the whole salon industry. Don’t you realize that this is how we get our funding?”
“I see that. And you know, I understand where you’re coming from. But there’s always enough people opting in that we’re really not a threat to the barber shop. In fact, fewer customers could mean more time is given to each individual child receiving a haircut.”
“The Barbers Union Employers Guild has had an official statement about home-based haircuts for the last three decades. You don’t have a license. You aren’t a professional. You’re screwing your kid up for the rest of his life.”
“I’m not trying to do away with teachers. I’m not trying to burn down the barber shop. I just want the freedom to choose whichever method of haircutting works best for my kid.”
* * *
John T. Spencer is a teacher in Phoenix, AZ who blogs at Education Rethink. He recently finished Pencil Me In, an allegory for educational technology and A Sustainable Start, a book for new teachers. He also wrote the reform-minded memoirs Teaching Unmasked: A Humble Alternative to Waiting For a Superhero and Sages and Lunatics. He has written two young adult novels Drawn Into Danger and A Wall for Zombies. You can connect with him on Twitter @johntspencer