A Form One student recently started a petition urging Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad to allow secondary school boys to grow out their hair
13-year-old student Darrell James started a petition two months ago with the intention of eradicating gender discrimination in his school in order for male students to grow out their hair.
In the petition, titled ‘Allow Malaysian School Boys To Grow Long Hair’, Darrell expressed his hopes that the Prime Minister would consider dismissing the rule.
At the time of writing, 68 people have signed the petition.
He shared that the rule prohibiting male students from growing out their hair has "no use in the 21st century"
"For so many years, schoolboys could not have long hair, defined as hair that falls below the earlobes at the back, covers more than half of the forehead, or covers both ears fully or partly," the student wrote.
"The fact that boys are not allowed to have long hair while girls are is gender discrimination. The rules should be scrapped," he continued, adding that the Ministry of Education should focus on improving the education instead of enforcing "trivial, outdated and unuseful rules".
The 13-year-old also expressed that students and parents should be given the option to decide whether they want short hair instead of making it compulsory
He added that it would also save students the hassle and cost of getting haircuts.
Darrell further highlighted that the prohibition on the use of hair gel in stricter schools is a concern, adding that punishing male students for long hair or using hair gel is "quite draconian".
Speaking to SAYS, the Form 1 student claimed that he has even attempted to bring up the matter to his teachers in school
"Most of the teachers told me off (for bringing the issue up). I even printed out a few posters, however, they got taken down," said Darrell in an interview with SAYS.
He added that he opted to rely on Change.org as he felt that it was the easiest way to make this issue known to the public.
Darrell also believes that hairstyles do not affect how a student does academically
"I can see why the rule was made. In the past, hygiene wasn't very good and lice infections were quite common. But now - in this modern age - I don't see how this rule is necessary," the student said.
He even urged students to speak up when it comes to voicing out their opinions.
There are so many students and young people in other countries that have started massive movements. We can do the same.
The boy added that students should be allowed to have their own individual identity and feel comfortable in their own skin.
"Whether you want to have long hair or short hair, the choice should be available," the 13-year-old said, adding that he was thankful to Izani, Hakimi, Azlan, and Aidan for their help in contributing to the petition letter.
Click here if you're interested in signing the petition