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Mustache Matters: Bearded Valedictorian Barred from Graduation

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on May 25, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

With the bearded hipster so ubiquitous, few would have expected this, but facial hair is under attack. More precisely, a mustachioed valedictorian was barred from attending his high school graduation in Amite, Louisiana this past weekend due to his facial hair.

Jones has a 4.0 grade point average and will be attending college next year on academic and sports scholarships, reports the Huffington Post. But he did not walk in his graduation and was asked to turn over his cap and gown.

Shaving for the Occasion

Although Andrew Jones sported a beard throughout the school year, and even appears fully bearded in a photograph with the school superintendent, he and 13 other students were told to shave or leave on graduation day. He told reporters that he was surprised by the school's request that he shave because he sported facial hair throughout the school year.

Also, he did actually shave for the special occasion. Jones explained, "It don't make sense. Every day of school I went with it, even more, I did shave. I had like sides and everything, but I shaved that for graduation." He said that he felt he should have been allowed to march and that the facial hair is not a distraction.

It should be noted that Jones was the only one of 14 students who did not comply with the school's request that he shave or leave, premised on a policy of no facial hair for men. But he said that the school had never enforced the policy before, so he did not bend and hopes it will be a lesson to others to stand up for what they believe in.

Mustaches Matter?

Meanwhile, Jones has support from the American Mustache Institute, and mustachioed writers too. Dr. Abraham Fromer, who describes himself as a writer and "facial hair pioneer" wrote in the Huffington Post about Jones' woes. He wrote: "As a committed Mustached American, Jones must be applauded as the actions by Tangipahoa Parish schools -- in the eyes of the American Mustache Institute (AMI) -- represent a clear violation of his civil liberties in discriminating against his Mustached American lifestyle."

The AMI, meanwhile, wrote a letter to the school superintendent and the board of Tangipahoa Parish schools, expressing dismay at their decision to exclude the valedictorian based on a policy of no facial hair, writing, "The enforcement of said discriminatory policy is unacceptable to people of Mustached American heritage and the Mustached American community at large as it represents a clear and dangerous precedence and an egregious violation of young peoples' civil liberties."

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