by Matt Post ‘18
On March 3rd, Watkins Mill’s Je’Nan Hayes was barred from participating in her regional final basketball game. The reason? Her headscarf. The main referee pulled Watkins Mill’s coach aside ahead of the game and demanded a waiver allowing for Hayes’ “decoration or headwear,” something required by the National Federation of State High School Associations. When the coach tried to explain that Hayes had gone 24 games without such a note, the official forced Hayes to spend the game on the bench. And so she did, until the conclusion of the game after Watkins Mill had lost 51-36.
There is simply no reason to require an individual to submit themselves into state bureaucracy just to wear a religious garb. It’s incredulous and reflective of a culture of paranoia and over-regulation when it comes to students. Such ludicrous policies and their breathless imposition are reflective of enforcement for the sake of enforcement. Students who have been dress coded for showing their precious shoulders, or scolded for daring to relieve themselves of urine without a pass can empathize with what Hayes went through: the feeling of being punished, not for doing something wrong, but stepping upon senseless rules crafted out of delusion instead of common sense.