U.S. court voids Indiana school's short hair rule for boys

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A divided federal appeals court on Monday said an Indiana school district's policy requiring that boys who want to play interscholastic basketball cut their hair short violated federal equal protection laws.

By a 2-1 vote, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling and ruled in favor of Patrick and Melissa Hayden, who had challenged a Greensburg, Indiana, school policy that restricted how their son and other boys wear their hair but did not similarly restrict girls.

Circuit Judge Ilana Rovner wrote that there was "no rational, let alone exceedingly persuasive" reason to treat boys and girls differently, even though schools had "substantial leeway" in light of their pedagogical and caretaking roles to establish grooming codes generally.

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