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From the Archives: 50 ‘longhairs’ protest clipping order

March 7, 1966: About 50 longhaired Palisades High School boys protested against school’s demand that
March 7, 1966: “Longhaired” Palisades High School students protest the school’s demand that they get haircuts.
(R.L. Oliver / Los Angeles Times)

After several warnings, on Friday, March 4, 1966, approximately 50 boys with long hair were expelled from Palisades High School. On the following Monday, protests began.

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.

This post was originally published on July 8, 2015.

March 7, 1966: Mike Rockwell, a football player, rips one of the protest signs.
March 7, 1966: Mike Rockwell, a football player, rips one of the protest signs. R.L. Oliver / Los Angeles Times
March 8, 1966: Six Palisades High School students who say they were suspended from classes because o
March 8, 1966: Six Palisades High School students who say they were suspended from classes because of their long hair. From left: Cam Watson, Frank Hardman, Pete McCharles, Gus Kahn, Richard Longaker and Dana Havden. R.L. Oliver / Los Angeles Times
March 10, 1966: Former Palisades High School students Tom Lazich, 19, in pointed hat and wig, and St
March 10, 1966: Former Palisades High School students Tom Lazich, 19, in the pointed hat and wig, and Stubby Stammer, also 19, on a motorcycle, show up at the school to support a protest by long-haired students told by officials to get haircuts. Steve Fontanini / Los Angeles Times

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