FINDINGS OF FACT
1. The defendant, Laurel Highlands School District, includes North and South Union Townships, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Located in the School District are South Laurel Senior High School and North Laurel Senior High School. The minor plaintiff is a teenage student (probably 16) in the 11th grade of South Laurel Senior High School.
2. The minor plaintiff is a professional musician; has played the organ and piano for six years; has been a member of Uniontown Branch of the Musician's Union No. 596 for three years. He has played professionally for four years. He plays the organ in a musical group or combo known as the Rouge River Excursion, which regularly plays for night clubs, fraternity parties and wedding receptions. He usually plays two nights a week, and his average income is $50 a week. All members of this musical group have long hair. The minor plaintiff has purchased a Hammond organ and a Leslie speaker cabinet for upwards of $2,000 on which he makes payments. He transports these instruments to the places of engagement in a panel truck. Because of his earnings his parents are not required to provide him with spending money.
3. During the school year 1968-1969 while the minor was attending Junior High School in the defendant School District, he permitted his hair to grow shoulder length so that it covered his ears and extended well below his coat collar at the rear of his neck. No objection was made by any school official to the length of his hair during that school year.
4. The minor entered South Laurel Senior High School in the Fall of 1969. During that school year, he and his father were advised by the principal, the defendant Daniel Lukotch,
that his long hair was in violation of the regulation pertaining to haircuts.
5. The defendant Lukotch did not insist that the minor plaintiff cut his hair during the school year 1969-1970 because of the minor's three year participation in the musical group and his obligations to make payments on his musical instruments.
6. During the Fall of the school year 1970-1971, the minor plaintiff and his father were again advised by the principal, Lukotch, that the minor's hair being "on the collar or shoulder length" and covering his ears, he was in violation of the regulation, and that he would have to cut his hair or be suspended. The principal interpreted the regulation prescribing "sensible, conventional haircuts" to forbid "hair on the shoulders and over the ears".
7. The minor plaintiff refused to cut his hair and his parents concurred in his refusal. He was suspended on two occasions by the principal for three days in November, 1970, and was expelled by the School Board on the 18th day of November, 1970. However, prior to the consent restraining order issued by this court, he missed only five days of school, the suspensions not being rigidly enforced.
8. The minor plaintiff was given notice of the impending suspension, and he and his father attended a hearing before the Board of School Directors. The plaintiffs were accorded a second hearing by the Board which was attended only by plaintiffs' counsel. After the second hearing, the Board of School Directors, by motion unanimously carried, expelled the minor plaintiff "until he complies with dress code." (Defendants' Ex. D.)
9. The regulation pertaining to haircuts (defendants' Ex. A, p. 19) was written by the defendant Lukotch in 1969 and was approved by the School Board and the student council.
10. According to Mr. Lukotch, the reason for the regulation is: "I think it is important that we make an identity of the sexes in a public school" (Tr., p. 87), and it plays a part in maintaining discipline.
11. There was no evidence whatsoever that long hair on male students did or tended to disrupt school activity, or distract students and teachers in the school or class rooms, or interrupted the educational process, at any time, at South Laurel Senior High School.
12. The "extreme haircut" of the minor has never been a disruptive or disturbing factor in South Laurel Senior High School or in the classes he attended; there has been no discord with other students; he has received no remonstrance from any teacher because of his long hair.
13. During the period in which the minor has attended South Laurel Senior High School, the principal has not had any trouble enforcing the haircut regulation except as to the minor plaintiff who apparently is the only boy who has violated the regulation. The principal testified that a dozen or more students have voiced the objection that if the minor plaintiff is permitted to have long hair, why can't they. (Tr., p. 86.)
14. When Mr. Lukotch was assistant principal, he encountered disciplinary trouble involving a strike in North Laurel Senior High School during the 1968-1969 school year which gave rise to the dress code which he wrote in 1969. The minor plaintiff was never a student at North Laurel Senior High School. From the evidence, it does not appear that long hair on boy students was the cause of or was related to the strike.
15. The minor plaintiff gets along well in high school and has above average grades; his deportment has been evaluated "A"; he is taking pre-college courses and would like to pursue musical studies in Berkeley School of Music in Boston or the Juilliard School of Music in New York. He believes his high school grades would have a bearing on obtaining admission to either of these schools of music.
16. The minor plaintiff insists that his long hair is a part of his personality and image as a musician; that audiences patronizing the Rouge River Excursion combo prefer long-haired musicians; and that he considers long hair necessary to make an impression upon the audiences for whom he plays.
17. While attending South Laurel Senior High School, the minor plaintiff has dressed neatly and adequately and has been neat and clean in his person, including his long hair which he keeps neatly combed. These facts are admitted in the Answer. There was no evidence to the contrary. In court he appeared well groomed from head to foot.
18. The length of the minor's hair does not present any danger to the health and safety of himself or other students. He does not work with any type of machinery in any of his school courses at South Laurel Senior High School. He does not attend the Technical School conducted by the School District.
19. No actual or punitive damages were sustained by the plaintiffs.
There have been numerous "long hair" cases in recent years, and it appears that each must be decided in its own particular setting and factual background.
Under the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case, the court is of the opinion that the minor plaintiff's claim to liberty as to his hair style is entitled to protection from action by the State, through its agents, the public school authorities, under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act, § 1983, Title 42 U.S.C.
Long ago the Supreme Court upheld the sanctity of the individual's right to control his own person. In Union Pacific Railway Co. v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250, 251, 11 S. Ct. 1000, 1001, 35 L. Ed. 734 (1891), the Court observed:
"No right is held more sacred, or is more carefully guarded, by the common law, than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person, free from all restraint or interference of others, unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law. As well said by Judge Cooley, 'The right to one's person may be said to be a right of complete immunity: to be let alone.'"
Recently, in Rowan v. United States Post Office Dept., 397 U.S. 728, 90 S. Ct. 1484, 25 L. Ed. 2d 736 (1970) the Court held that a person's right to be let alone, in some circumstances, outweighed the freedom of others to communicate.
The Constitution protects freedoms to determine one's own hair style and otherwise to govern one's personal appearance. Zachry v. Brown, 299 F. Supp. 1360, 1362 (N.D. Ala. 1967), "* * the classification of male students * * by their hair style is unreasonable and fails to pass constitutional muster." Breen v. Kahl, 296 F. Supp. 702, 705-706 (W.D. Wis. 1969), "* * * freedom to wear one's hair at a certain length * * is constitutionally protected, even though it expresses nothing but individual taste." Westley v. Rossi, 305 F. Supp. 706, 711 (D. Minn. 1969), "an undifferentiated fear of disturbance is not sufficient to override significant individual freedom afforded by the Federal Constitution." Sims v. Colfax Community School District, 307 F. Supp. 485, 488 (S.D. Iowa 1970), "* * * school hair rules are reasonable and thus constitutional only if the school can objectively show that such a rule does in fact prevent some disruption or interference of the school system. * * * 'In short, the freedom here protected is the right to some breathing space for the individual into which the government may not intrude without carrying a substantial burden of justification.'" To the same effect are: Crews v. Cloncs, 432 F.2d 1259 (7th Cir. 1970); Richards v. Thurston, 424 F.2d 1281 (1st Cir. 1970); Reichenberg v. Nelson, 310 F. Supp. 248 (D. Neb. 1970); Miller v. Gillis, 315 F. Supp. 94 (N.D. Ill. 1969); Calbillo v. San Jacinto Junior College, 305 F. Supp. 857 (S.D. Tex. 1969); Olff v. East Side Union High School District, 305 F. Supp. 557 (N.D. Cal. 1969). Cf. Griffin v. Tatum, 425 F.2d 201 (5th Cir. 1970).
In Breen v. Kahl, 419 F.2d 1034, 1036 (7th Cir. 1969), the minor plaintiffs were expelled by the School Board for violating a much more explicit regulation pertaining to long hair than in the instant case. It was held that "the right to wear one's hair at any length or in any desired manner is an ingredient of personal freedom protected by the United States Constitution." This right clearly exists and is applicable to the states through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. To limit or curtail this or any other fundamental right, the state has a "substantial burden of justification."
The United States Supreme Court in United States v. O'Brien, 391 U.S. 367, 377, 88 S. Ct. 1673, 1679, 20 L. Ed. 2d 672 (1968), stated:
"* * * [A] government regulation is sufficiently justified if it is within the constitutional power of the Government; if it furthers an important or substantial governmental interest; if the governmental interest is unrelated to the suppression of free expression; and if the incidental restriction on alleged First Amendment freedoms is no greater than is essential to the furtherance of that interest."