Hastings St John's College pupil Lucan Battison outside the
High Court at Wellington last week. Photo from The NZ
Lucan Battison's tied-up bun has parted opinion in New
Zealand like a healthy head of hair.
Following a call for feedback, Otago Daily Times
readers have shown they are split between wanting to cut
Lucan and his rebellion against school rules back to size and
those who are pulling their hair out over the fact that a boy
with long locks is a problem in the 21st century.
In an unscientific poll of readers' opinions, about 43% told
the ODT they supported Lucan in his fight to keep his
long hair and 25% thought he should cut his hair or change
Lucan Battison (16), a pupil of St John's College in
Hastings, was suspended from the school last month after
failing to meet its ''off the collar and out of the eyes''
A High Court judicial review in Wellington ruled in favour of
the year 12 pupil, stating the suspension and the school's
hair policy were unlawful.
Justice David Collins said Lucan was willing to wear his hair
tied back in a bun and when he did, his hair was above his
ears, off his collar and out of his eyes.
While Justice Collins found favour with Lucan's hair, it did
not exempt him from criticism in the court of public opinion.
One reader told the ODT the outcome of the dispute was ''not
a good result''.
''Schools should be able to set any rules they deem
appropriate to raise our children in a satisfactory manner,''
the reader said.
''It is our choice to send our kids to this school. Life has
rules, workplaces have rules, homes [should] have rules.
''All this court case has done is say to our children `if you
don't like the boundaries - rebel'.''
Another reader agreed, saying: ''Rules are rules. Yip, might
be dumb, but it's still a rule. He should [have] cut his hair
or left school. So disappointed in his parents. Should never
[have] gone to court.''
Others were more sympathetic.
''I don't think that schools should make rules around what
kind of hair style or colour a student can have. People
should be able to have fun and look however they like. What
they are learning is more important than how they look,'' one
Another called for gender equality and said ''why can't a
guy'' have long hair at school if girls could.
''I don't get the point of having separate rules for separate
genders - different times we're living in,'' the reader said.
Another 32% of readers were unclear in their opinion, but
thought it should not have gone to court.
''Trivial and unimportant,'' one person said.
''Strange, but sad how we seem to make such a big issue out
of trivia,'' another commented.
• Lucan's father Troy says he plans to sell the
story of his son's High Court battle to a women's magazine
and use the proceeds to help pay St John's College's legal
He told Hawkes Bay Today there had been inaccuracies
in reporting the issue and he would sell the ''real story''
to the highest bidder.