By: Laura Bulfin
At times, it’s easy to confuse Kilkenny College with a prison. We all wear the same dull uniform every day. We’re not allowed facial piercings. If we dye our hair a colour outside of the ‘natural’ range, we’re told to dye it back. Lads aren’t even allowed ear piercings, and actually, it’s really sexist to allow ear piercings for girls and not boys. Boarders wear the uniform to tea and to prep, but really, is this necessary? Boarders also have to wear the full uniform coming back to school on a Sunday/Monday, and when signing out, even if you’re going downtown with your parents on a Wednesday. The only argument I have heard that even slightly justifies these ridiculous rules, is that students coming back to school or signing out in uniform are less likely to run away/leave the school without permission and if they do, they will easily be spotted because they are wearing the college uniform.
To be honest, if I wanted to run away, I’d make a detailed plan of what I was going to do to get as far away as possible without being caught, and you can be sure that I wouldn’t walk out of those gates wearing the uniform. All I’d have to do is get off my bus on Sunday, sign in wearing my uniform, go up to my dorm, get changed and leave. Obviously the cameras would record me, but my absence would be noticed at lights out anyway so this doesn’t matter. I don’t recommend running away personally because that won’t solve your problems, but my point is that making us wear the uniform to sign in and out is unnecessary, especially for older years.
Likewise, we should be able to wear casuals to tea and to prep. As most people find prep a dreary experience, even letting us wear comfy clothes there would be a drastic improvement. I would also like to point out that King’s Hospital wear casuals to prep.
For a start, I think a lot of people can agree that we need more freedom with the way we look in school. I think we should be allowed facial piercings and dyed hair. How is this going to affect the reputation of the school in a negative way? How will students having their nose pierced or purple hair affect another student’s education? Ultimately, it won’t have much of an effect on either. You can argue that students will be distracted by someone’s purple hair in class, but if that student doesn’t want to listen in class, they’re always going to find something to be distracted by, e.g. a window, or a ceiling. Anything can be distracting and even if we all wore blindfolds in class there would still be someone not listening to the teacher.
You can say that piercings and dyed hair will make the school look dodgy and as if half the students are addicted to drugs, as this type of image is often associated with people who have body modifications. This is outdated and ludicrous. In these modern times, we are told not to judge people according to their looks, yet this doesn’t seem to apply to everyone for some reason. Piercings and dyed hair are quickly becoming widely acceptable, and it’s not as hard to get a job with a facial piercing as you might think.
On the TY Venice trip, I noticed piercings everywhere, and heaps of men had their ears pierced, even lads in their fifties. If it can go unnoticed in Italy, why does it matter so much here? At the end of the day it is your body and you should be able to get piercings if you want to, even if you are still in school. If problems arise with bullying, e.g. a person with a septum piercing gets teased because they ‘look like a bull’, then that person should either tell the people teasing to stop or report them if they don’t. It’s as simple as that. Once we get rid of the piercing ban, the dyed hair ban, and the constant uniform wearing, I think our next step will be getting rid of the uniform altogether because, let’s face it, barely anyone likes it.