Hats Off, Hats On — OPINION

Hats have been banned in schools for centuries, but why?


Ariel Clark

I tend to be an avid collector of unique hats (usually fedoras). While I could understand why this large and shining cowboy hat may be too excessive for a school setting, I don’t understand why something like a plain fedora would be criminal to wear. To me, hats are a great sign for personal identification.

Ariel Clark, Editor

From cowboy hats to fedoras to top hats, schools have enforced a ban on students wearing hats in school for what seem to be outdated reasons.  Once every few months the school hosts an event where students can pay to wear a hat for the day, helping to provide some funding towards activities.  However, activities also have a multitude of other fundraisers and events to help fund them to the extent where the profits of “Hat Day” is almost irrelevant.  So then why can’t students just wear hats whenever they want?

According to other schools (such as the Bulldogs) hats can be seen as a sign of disrespect due to their correlation with the military. The author also mentions that hats can be detrimental when trying to identify culprits or individuals on camera. However, like Dylan Jamison (author of the Bulldogs’ article) mentions, we’re no longer in a monarchy or subjected to any form of army-like conduct while in a school. The freedom of students to express themselves via dying their hair, getting piercings, and wearing things that challenge the dress code in more ways than one are allowed, so why not hats? As a small school, it’s extremely easy to pick out who’s who, so it isn’t difficult to identify anyone if need-be.  

Another issue brought up is that hats may cause a lice outbreak or be signified with certain gang affiliation. I challenge this, especially considering we live in a small town that has little to no gang wars or violence occurring. High schoolers particularly are knowledgeable enough to know not to share their hats while dealing with lice. If needed, there could be a few rules that prohibit people from sharing their hats or ban certain hats that may be too “flashy” or distracting for other students.  

Our student handbook’s policy states: “An individual’s grooming, the way she/he dresses, and how she/he behaves do have a bearing on how others react to her/him.  If a style of dress demonstrates a threat to the safety and health of self or others, it will not be permitted in school.”  This statement, while making sense, doesn’t overly explain why hats are prohibited.  It’s not likely for someone to suffocate while wearing or looking at a hat.  “Hats, caps, hoods, and full headscarves may not be worn in school.” That’s the extent of the rule, without any more reasoning as to why these particular clothing articles are banned.

I believe that students should be allowed to wear hats that do not express insane behavior (such as extreme colors, flashing lights, inappropriate insignia, and other fancy gimmicks that could hinder learning) and not be forced to remove their hat due to it just being on their head.  There is no harm that comes from a student finding ways to express themselves in passive ways such as this. This generation should not be hindered by a past generation’s ideology and ruleset when those rules no longer hold meaning to most people. Change is hard but necessary if we are to continue progressing as a society.