Students share opinions on Mater Dei’s changes to the hair policy


Charlotte de Leon

TRYING NEW STYLES Sophomore Jayden Asuncion likes to wear his hair in a fluffy, curly style. Now that the hair policies allow boys to have any length of hair, he plans to take advantage of these new privileges. “It’s important to express ourselves because we have a uniform here. That doesn’t offer a lot, especially with how strict they are on wearing the uniform,” Asuncion said.

When people think about Mater Dei High School, many things come to mind. Perhaps it’s the Christian values that the school works to instill in their students. Maybe it’s the national championship-winning football team. For some students, however, the first thing that they think of is the dress code.

Mater Dei students have the ability to communicate with school administration regarding aspects of the rules that are deemed too strict or in need of updating. Among other dress code rules, students have taken particular issue with the restrictions regarding hair.

In previous years, it was not uncommon for students to receive warnings about an aspect of their hair like length. This year, the Mater Dei administration has opted to remove hair length regulations from the student handbook altogether. Now, as long as hair is neatly groomed and naturally colored, students are free to express themselves through their hair style.

The steps that Mater Dei is taking to make school policies more inclusive is bringing contentment to many Mater Dei students.

One of these satisfied Monarchs is Junior Sidney Patino. Patino believes that the style of her hair positively affects the quality of her work in school.

“Choosing how to wear my hair affects my confidence of how I do well in school. It definitely helps me feel more productive,” Patino said.

While students’ ability to choose their own hairstyle can foster self confidence, it can also be a form of expression of individual preference or culture.

Freshman basketball player, Leo Tordera, is appreciative of this newfound tolerance to different hairstyles. He believes that the new hair policies are a great example of Mater Dei’s receptiveness to students’ choices.

“I think that people should do what they want [to express themselves] because they like their hair a certain way,” Tordera said.

Some hairstyles that were expressions of certain cultures were previously prohibited on campus due to strict hair rules.

“Some boys have certain traditions to grow their hair as part of their culture, and so we were not allowed to do that,” Tordera said.

In previous years, the Mater Dei administration has received several requests to modify the hair rules for cultural and ethnic reasons. While administration did grant exceptions to the dress code for these students, they ultimately determined that changing the policy altogether would further benefit the Mater Dei community.

Assistant Principal of Catholic Identity and Formation and key advocate to changing the policy, Mrs. Jeni Dennin explains why she deemed it so important to change the hair rules.

“For me it was important to change the hair policy because I knew of some students that would have worn their hair in styles common with particular ethnicities that strictly speaking did not adhere to our policy yet were neatly groomed,” Dennin said.

However, now that all genders can wear their hair at whatever length they wish, Mater Dei is communicating greater inclusivity to students’ backgrounds and expressing appreciation for all cultures. This is Mater Dei’s way of showing that by modifying the hair policies, the school is a diverse and inclusive environment that reflects honor, glory, and love to God and all people.

Despite all of this, certain rules regarding students’ hair remain in place. For example, students cannot have hair that is of an extreme hair color or that is two-toned in a way that is distracting to the educational experience.

Dean of Students Maria Corona ‘04 notes the importance of dress code in school for students to maintain a sense of professionalism and discipline.

“It’s important that, as professionals, students begin to learn to follow rules that way or dress code that way because in most professions you’re going to have that,” Corona said. “We want our students to be dressed up for school and that I always believe helps you be ready for school.”

Though certain rules remain in place in order to establish discipline among the student body, the administration has made a welcome change that allows students to express themselves, honor their cultures, and establish their individuality.

“I think we as a Mater Dei community are trying to put students out in the world that are making a difference,” Corona said. “I am hopeful that the discipline that students learn here [will] help them in their future.”