A little common sense could go a long way.
Columbus (Neb.) High School officials are taking a lot of heat because of a decision to complain about the uniforms worn by Omaha (Neb.) Burke High School during their girls basketball game.
Monday, the Burke girls wore pink uniform tops and shorts, which were to be auctioned off after the game to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Columbus High Athletic Director John Krogstrand informed his coach, Dave Licari, at halftime that Nebraska state athletic rules require the home team (Burke in this case) to wear predominantly white uniforms.
Licari made the decision to tell the officials, who in turn gave Burke a technical. Columbus High made the two free throws and broke open a one-point game, cruising to the win.
A fews weeks ago in Michigan, a cancer survivor, J.T. Gaskins, 17, was suspended for growing his hair long. He was growing long hair with the intent to later have it cut off and donate it to Locks of Love. The organization uses donated hair to provide hairpieces for those who lose their hair because of cancer.
The Columbus High incident ended up on the front page of the state's largest circulated newspaper, the Omaha World-Herald, and made the rounds on the Internet.
Columbus' superintendent said the two schools are working on a joint fundraiser, and to Burke's credit, the school has stated there are no hard feelings.
Gaskins has decided to leave the school rather than cut his hair.
Both schools were well within the rules of a basketball game and the school's dress code concerning long hair.
But there are times when rules should give-way to common sense.
These are two of those instances.
I am sure neither school is heartless or meant to cause such a stir. They were just following the rules.
Since all calls for the athletic director are being directed to the Columbus superintendent, he is not speaking for himself, so his thought process cannot be followed.
I think it is safe to assume, though, he never meant any harm, and certainly did not think this would be something that would end up on Huff Post, an Internet newspaper.
Sometimes in the heat of the moment, people do not stop to think about the ramifications of their decisions or actions.
Do not forget that even though the AD brought the uniform violation to the coach's attention, Licari had a choice to make, too. He could have told Krogstrand it was not an issue, or that the good cause outweighed the rules. Instead, he decided to alert the officials to the issue.
He made the wrong choice.
The officials, although they are not to blame, could have asked Licari if he really wanted to pursue the violation or they could have told the coach they were going to let it slide this time.
The same could be said of the Michigan school board. It could have allowed an exception to the dress code for Gaskins after it learned why he was growing his hair long. There are exceptions to every rule.
In both cases, people trying to do good deeds were punished. Both issues have drawn a lot of attention, and it will be a long time before they are forgotten.
All either school can do at this point is try and learn from the incidents. Maybe the Michigan school board makes changes in its dress code or at the very least allows for some exceptions.
As for Columbus High, officials must try and make amends, and a shared fundraiser would help.
Some will never forgive Columbus, and that is wrong. People made bad decisions and will have to live with them, learn and do better from this point forward.
It is all we can do as human beings. It is all we ask our children to do. Admit mistakes, make amends and become better people.
Patrick Murphy, of Columbus, Neb., is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.