BECKLEY, WV(TS) - The incoming class at Le Raven's Beauty Institute will look much different this fall. The school's board of directors voted last week to ban left-handed students from enrolling. The move was made after protests from instructors throughout the previous school year. Right-handed students have complained in recent years of losing precious study time while educators adjust their training and methods.
"We were just spending too much time with mirrors and other optical illusions to help facilitate the (left-handed) students' progress and it was affecting our right-handed, so-called 'normal' students' education," said Raphael Ajour, an instructor and stylist at Le Raven's. From 2002 to 2009, Le Raven's enrolled 430 students, of which Ajour believes "90 to 95%" were right-handed.
Raquel Nissom, a right-handed student and recent graduate of Le Raven's, believes left-handers were a "distraction" and probably cost her a job out of school with a higher paying salon. "I have kids to feed and simply don't have time to waste on people who want to cut hair the wrong way," said Nissom. "All of my clients appreciate the fact that I style their hair correctly--with a right hand."
Left-handed students are still searching for answers, but the school is refusing to talk. A student group, calling themselves C.L.A.P. (Cosmetology Lefties Against Prohibition) is promising to protest. Alice Griffers, a spokesperson for C.L.A.P. said, "This is about getting the public to be aware of what is going on at this school. Although there are only a small number of us which are left-handed stylists, most everyone knows a family member or friend that is left-handed and won't stand for this segregation." Griffers went on to mention this could affect career choices for left-handed children in the future as well as common implements which are now available, like scissors and guitars, but could go away if interest in left-handedness wanes.
While anger mounts on both sides of the issue, Le Raven's has not felt the spurn of public opinion yet, "We've got right-handed students enrolling and then giving us high-fives, with their right-hand of course," said Ajourn laughing.