Hoover, Alabama, high school principal, Don Hulin, recently reversed the school’s official decision to stop a student, Sara Couvillon, from wearing a T-Shirt expressing acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.
This was not, however, the school’s initial reaction as school officials first told the Couvillon she was violating the school’s dress code by wearing clothing that could constitute advertisement. But she stood her ground. Then they told her they wanted her not to wear the shirt for her own safety, even though Couvillon hadn’t been threatened.
It was only after the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) advised Hoover High officials of a possible lawsuit that Hoover backed down. A statement issued by principal Hulin states, “Our dress code at Hoover High School is designed to facilitate the learning environment that is so important to our school. The T-shirt at issue has not caused a substantial disruption and the student will be allowed to wear it. Our focus has been and will be on the learning environment at Hoover High School.”
This is a powerful statement from the principle. And whether or not the threat of a lawsuit prompted the reversal of the high school’s official position, it is a great example of the school adhering to Dale Carnegie’s first Success Principle of “Don’t Criticize, Condemn, or Complain.”
Those in business can take away a valuable lesson from what transpired at Hoover High School. Yes, the circumstances surrounding what happened to Sara Couvillon and what we might encounter in business are likely quite disparate. But the lesson we should come away with is that while it’s easy to criticize, condemn, or complain, we should always seek the positive and choose a more productive mentality.
Here’s an example of this principle in action from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training: