The United States is a nation of laws. Laws that we hold in common are the fabric by which our nation is bound together. These laws represent our responsibilities in maintaining order within the framework of the Constitutional. However there may be circumstances where it might be acceptable to break those laws in order to achieve a far better good. Rule are similar to laws but are local in scope such as rules in a school district governing student conduct.
Recently there was news of a 9 year old girl who shaved her head with her parents permission in solidarity for an 11 year old friend who was being treated for stage 4 cancer and had lost all her hair. The 9 year old was suspended from school for violating the dress code [School Reverses Decision To Suspend Girl Who Shaved Her Head For Friend With Cancer] in spite of doing no harm. I have a problem comprehending what drove school administrators to expel a student for doing a good and compassionate deed even if violating a dress code.
Dress codes and other rules are made to prevent socially unacceptable behavior. Administrators should know the intent of such rules and the intention of this compassionate girl whose only purpose was to show her very sick friend that there was no shame in loosing ones hair. This student was exhibiting a far higher social rule, the rule of love and compassion. Administrators should have realized this as soon as the truth was revealed. These administrators seems to be acting quite childishly disciplining a child for doing a mature and grownup act. They could have made an exception to this rule. No one would have faulted them for it. I feel that some common sense needs to be exercised when rules are broken. If a person is stranded out in the wild starving to death and breaks into an unoccupied cabin to get food should that person be considered a fugitive and persuade by the law for burglary and theft? If a student breaks a window in a school to escape a burning building should that student be punished for vandalism? I think common sense dictates that these are not criminal acts even though laws were technically broken.
So why didn’t the same common sense values prevail with school administrators in this case? Instead of doing the right thing administrators took the easy way out and followed the rule to the letter and suspended this innocent 9 year old for being heroic and compassionate. Executives are paid good salaries to take the initiative in exercising sound judgement when doing their jobs. Anyone can mechanically follow all the rules. So why didn’t school administrative executives exercise sound common sense judgement and initiative in this case? What message does this send to this and other students? If a good Samaritan Jaywalks to get to a grievously injured pedestrian should he be sited by the police for breaking the Jaywalking law? Are rules more sacred than the rule of love and compassion? Is that the point the administrators were trying to making? Is that the lesson they want to teach this child and her schoolmates?
Laws and rules are made to maintain order but when a rule or law is broken due to circumstances that obviously benefit the greater good, authorities need to exercise common sense and grant special circumstance exceptions. In this case it is very clear that the violation did no harm and was of great benefit to a very sick friend as well as making a good example for her classmates and school administrators. The bending of the dress code rule would not have resulted in the weakening of the rule or the encouragement of others to ignore the rule. But it would have encouraged others to show more love and compassion towards their fellow human beings. I feel this child is a hero, not a rule breaker. She should have been rewarded for her brave actions instead of suspended for braking the dress code. Fortunately common sense has finally somewhat prevailed and the girl’s suspension lifted due to public outcry, pending a final decision. But the question still remains why did this even happened?
What is the point of rules and law if not to occasionally be broken for an obvious much greater good? Women’s suffrage and civil rights are cases in point where laws were in violation of higher values and were thus broken and eventually overturned. I am not advocating anarchy but I am saying that if laws are unjust they should be fixed, and if rules violate common sense higher value special circumstances then they should be bent. Laws are not the ends desired but only the means to achieve an end. In circumstances in which they do not serve their intended purpose they should be bent or changed. Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness are among end results. Others are Love, Charity, Empathy, Compassion, and Goodness as we grownups have so often taught our children and this brave 9 year old Good Samaritan has so amply reminded us adults of. Are we grownups grown up enough to take this 9 year old child’s goodness to heart?