50 ‘Longhairs’ protest clipping order
March 7, 1966: “Longhaired” Palisades High School students protest school’s demand that they get haircuts.
The Monday morning protest before classes occurred after the Friday expulsion of approximately 50 boys with longhair.
Staff writer Charles Hillinger reported in the March 8, 1966, Los Angeles Times:
A demonstration by about 50 “longhaired” Palisades High School boys was broken up before class Monday by members of the school’s football squad.
Sign-carrying students were protesting the school’s demand that they get haircuts before being readmitted to classes.
They had been marching back and forth on sidewalks in front of the high school campus at 15777 Bowdoin St., Pacific Palisades, for a half-hour when the football players appeared.
Signs carried by the longhairs read:
“There is no scientific proof that long hair inhibits learning.”
“Educated Don’t Stylize.”
“A Hairy Head Is a Happy Head,” “Moses, Ben Franklin, Jefferson, Abe Lincoln, Albert Einstein, George Washington, Shakespeare All Had Long Hair.”
The football players used some gridiron tactics to break up the demonstration.
Defensive end Mike Rockwell, 17, grabbed the sign held by Mark Engle and ripped it. “We don’t like what you’re doing,” Rockwell declared tersely.
The football player continued on down the line of demonstrations, ripping their signs. No one stopped Rockwell who is also a member of the school’s Boys League.
Standing on the sidelines was William J. Seminario, dean of boys, who sent 50 youths home last Friday, informing them that they would would not be admitted to classes unless they had their locks shorn.
“We have more than 1,100 boys in our school,” explained Seminario. “About 50 of them have continuously refused to get their hair cut. It is the expressed wish of the vast majority of the student body that they get appropriate haircuts.…”
When the first bell rang, students filed into their classes, except for about 25 of the longhairs who either failed to pass or did not show up for an inspection of their locks.…
Further protests occurred during the same week, but after a Sunday, March, 13, 1966, article, I was unable to find further coverage in the Los Angeles Times.
July 8, 2015, 7:06 am
I wonder what the participants in this episode think of it now, particularly Mr. Rockwell.
August 2, 2015, 4:49 pm
I wonder if the Mike Rockwell of the football team was the son of actor Robert Rockwell, who lived on Toyopa Drive near Pampas Ricas Blvd for decades? Rockwell was Honorary Mayor of Pacific Palisades in 1963, and is best remembered as "Mr. Boynton" on the 1950s TV sitcom "Our MIss Brooks".
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