I remember a time when, as a kid, getting candy OUT of your hair was a major, momentary, catastrophe that was only resolvable with a pair of scissors.  The resultant bald patch was your mark of dishonor for playing so poorly with such sticky candy.  I was, of course, curious to read about the recent Jolly Rancher in Your Hair Affair where a mother purposefully put Jolly Rancher candy in her child’s hair and then sent said child off to school for photo day.  Here’s a random image of what “Your Hair in Jolly Ranchers” looks like:

Here’s another random image of a similar candy styling:

The original child in question had her picture taken by her disbelieving teacher and the ensuing outrage on both sides of the wrapper have been stuck in our condescending cultural eye ever since.  Here are the images of the child in style:

I am concerned when I read comments from people that the teacher was wrong.  I am outraged when people blame the child for asking for the candy ‘do.  I find a comment from “Big Ed” on the Chicago Tribune website interesting:

Ok, I’ll be the devil’s advocate here. A parent sends her child to school, on picture day, with a foolish looking hairdo, that the parent created. A teacher takes 2 pictures, showing the faceless students ridiculous hairdo, and posts it on Facebook, and  we vilify the teacher? Granted if I were the teacher, I would have used a little more discrepancy on who I allowed to see these pictures, but for the parent to cry about the teacher not “apologizing to the student,” is utterly ridiculous. Lucinda Williams if you don’t like your daughter, to be made fun of, or laughed at, don’t send your daughter to school, looking foolish, comparably to Lady Gaga wearing a dress made totally of fresh meat! You gave her a hairdo, that you probably thought was funny, and then, you claim to be offended when someone laughs at it! Quit blaming teachers, for the stupidity of the parents, and the lack of parents taking responsibility for their actions. This is exactly what is wrong with our schools today, parents are not accountable for their children’s actions, and in most incidents, are participants in the behavior, that they later claim hurt the child’s feelings, and then you claim that, it’s all the teachers fault, for laughing and sharing that laughter with their friends!

I think Big Ed rightly puts the blame where it belongs:  On the mother of the child.  If not for her direct intervention, none of this ever would have happened.  She must learn to say “No” to her child.  That mother needs to understand the world can be a cruel and mocking place and her first job as a parent is to protect her daughter from any unnecessary pain — including intentional whimsy — which was unfairly, and unnecessarily, perpetrated by her child’s peers and teacher.

We learn by watching — and the world is gathering a valuable lesson about candy and hairstyles, and what it means to be the center of negative attention — and, unfortunately, the Jolly Rancher Girl gets the worst of it in the end as the landing for finger pointing and laughter, and it was all so utterly avoidable.

7 Comments

    1. Right! It was a great teaching moment — for the mother, not the teacher! The mother should’ve taught her daughter that it is not appropriate to wear candy in your hair for school photo day. Teach her there’s a time and a place for Jolly Ranchers tied to your hair — at home on the weekends — not during the school week.

  1. Actually, I think it is kind of cute. I don’t see why the mother should have said no. The child was expressing herself after seeing a model with the same hairstyle. It’s no different than dying your hair pink or wearing interesting hair bows. It’s not like this was permanent. The message should have been, “It’s okay to be yourself”.

    1. Society has rules of behavior for getting along and getting ahead and it is the parent who clues the child in on those standards. Being a “Feel Good Hair Rebel” might be cute in the child, but it always betrays the adult. Parents must rule the home and not let the child set the standard of behavior of the day.

      When having candy in your hair becomes popular and accepted in mainstream society, we’ll know we’ve stepped down yet another irretrievable rung on the civilized culture ladder.

      Do you have a problem with the teacher taking a picture of the student and sharing it with her husband?

  2. Oh wow – the world CAN be a “cruel and mocking place”, but the child shouldn’t have to be protected from being mocked by her own teacher. Young children like to dress themselves, resulting in outrageous colour combinations, socks of two different colours and a variety of other things – but if we don’t allow them to express themselves, we get a society of sheeple, who don’t know how to think for themselves or express themselves and that’s when the Government steps in and manipulates.
    As funny at the teacher thought it looked, a picture of a child who is not hers should NOT be put on her Facebook page.

    1. A child should not be making fashion decisions at such an early age — especially for an official school photo. The teacher was certainly wrong, but it all started with the bad judgment of the mother who allowed the candy in the hair in the first place. We need to promote self-reliance and not self-esteem in our children.