The red stripe signifies blood

19 10 2010

Did you know that barbers once pulled teeth?

I learned that this week. I’m working on a licensing case involving barber shops and I have been researching the history of  barbers. They have a colorful past.


In the Middle Ages, monks and priests – as the most educated people in society – became the physicians of the period. One of the most common treatments for curing a variety of illnesses was bloodletting. The clergy enlisted barbers to assist them with this practice.

The rise of barber-surgeons

In 1163, Pope Alexander III forbade the clergy from drawing blood because it was sacrilegious. At that point, barbers took over the duties. They continued the practice of bloodletting, performed minor surgery and pulled teeth. For centuries, dentistry was performed only by barbers and for more than a thousand years they were known as “barber-surgeons.”

The red stripe on the barber pole represents bloody bandages

The symbol of the barber-surgeon was the striped barber pole that we still see today. The pole is thought to represent the staff that the patient would hold tightly in order for the veins in the arm to stand out during bloodletting. The white bandages used to stop bleeding were hung on the staff to dry. The stained bandages would then twist around the pole in the breeze, forming a red and white pattern. One interpretation of the colors of the modern barber pole is that red represents the blood, blue the veins, and white the bandages.

Do you just have to know more? For more interesting facts about the history of barbers, I recommend the textbook used by all barber students in Texas, which is Milady’s Standard: Professional Barbering.

The Double Whammy of a criminal conviction

21 06 2010


Ways that a criminal conviction can cost you your license

If you are convicted of a crime, jail time or a fine is not all you have to worry about. The state may be able to revoke your professional license too. And the state’s power to do so got stronger in 2009 when the Legislature amended the law.

For most professions, before 2009 the state could revoke a license (or deny the application for one) only if the professional were convicted of an offense that directly related to the duties and responsibilities of the profession. So, for example, the board of accountancy could revoke the license of an accountant for conviction of fraud but probably not for the driving under the influence of alcohol.

Now, however, state agencies have more power. They may revoke (or deny) for conviction of an offense that does not directly relate to the duties and responsibilities of the profession if the offense was committed fewer than five years before the person applied for a license.

Sometimes the state must revoke the license

In the circumstances set forth above, state agencies have discretion to revoke. That is, they can do so if they see fit, but they do not have to do so. But there are other circumstances in which a state agency does not have discretion and must revoke a license. Specifically, the state must revoke in the following circumstances:

• imprisonment following a felony conviction

• felony community service revocation

• revocation of parole; or

• revocation of mandatory supervision

And some professions are governed by different rules altogether

These guidelines apply to most professionals in Texas. But they do not necessarily apply to persons who provide law enforcement or public health, education, or safety services. Generally speaking, those persons are held to even higher standards of conduct. For them, revocation (and denial) is controlled by the specific laws governing their professions.