An Open Letter To Taylor Pugh in Mesquite, Texas

Sometimes the things you learn in school are a whole lot more important than the lessons a teacher thinks he is teaching. Sometimes what you learn is that it can be scary to stand alone, apart from the crowd. I think you learned about how mean crowds can be this week when the Mesquite school board said it was all right to make you sit all by yourself because your hair is too long.

The crowd can be really, really stupid sometimes. And the crowds governing school boards can be more stupid than most groups.

I know you are only four years old, and odds are this letter won't make its way to you. But it might. And if it does, I want you to know that growing your hair long is really no big deal. I am old enough to be your grandfather and my hair is long and gray. I am a lawyer, and when I go to court people sometimes give me a hard time about my hair. But I am good at my job, so people get over the hair once they get a chance to see what I can do. Be yourself, Taylor, and let the world catch up to you.

I feel bad that the Mesquite school board is afraid of what you can do. They think that the length of your hair will make it hard for the other kids to do their school work. What a silly idea. They don't really mean that.

What the school board really means is that it is afraid of people who are different. Unless everyone looks the same and acts the same, the board is afraid it will lose control. Always, Taylor, fear the control a crowd seeks to impose. If you let a crowd bully you, you will lose your spirit. Once your spirit dies, life becomes gray and sad.

I read in a newspaper today that your mom and dad are going to go to court to see if a judge will let you grow your hair and be treated just like all the other kids. I hope you go with them to court to see what happens.

Courts are where people who are different go to make sure that the crowd does not stomp on them and hurt them. In our country we have a Constitution that sets the limits on what the crowd can do. If you have a good lawyer, he or she will make sure the judge hears that in this country it is wrong for government to try to make us all look and think alike. I hope you and your family keep fighting and that you make the bullies on the Mesquite school board feel ashamed of themselves.

Don't cut your hair, Taylor, or, if you do, cut it because that is how you want to wear it. Every time you hear the crowd roar and holler that you are different, you should clap your hands and smile. You are the salt of the Earth. The board is simply another passing cloud.

Good luck, Taylor. I am rooting for you and your parents.

About Norm Pattis

Norm Pattis is a Connecticut based trial lawyer focused on high stakes criminal cases and civil right violations. He is a veteran of more than 100 jury trials, many resulting in acquittals for people charged with serious crimes, multi-million dollar civil rights and discrimination verdicts, and scores of cases favorably settled.

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I believe that the state is a necessary fiction and that failing to combat it is the first step toward tyranny.
– Norm Pattis


Nothing in this blog should be considered legal advice about your case. You need a lawyer who understands the context of your life and situation. What are offered here are merely suggested lines of inquiry you may explore with your lawyer.

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