Hats Off To Revising The Dress Code Policy


Edric Parker, Opinions Editor

According to the WSHS Student Handbook, “Dress and grooming that interferes with or disrupts the educational process or which endanger the health or safety of the individual student or student body will not be tolerated. Hats or bandannas or similar head cover may not be worn in school (except for religious or disability reasons and upon notification to the principal.)”

Everybody has worn a hat at least once, whether it was to cover a bad haircut, complement what you were wearing, keep warm in the winter, or just supporting a sports team. Whatever the reason for wearing them, hats are a form of self-expression just like any other piece of clothing or an accessory. They are no different than a scarf or a piece of jewelry.

At what point is wearing a hat a sign of disrespect? Times change, and society is different, therefore certain things that would be deemed inappropriate decades ago are now accepted. Technology is one of them. We’ve made a big step in not only incorporating chromebooks in our school but also allowing the use of headphones. We can keep going further. The dress code policy needs to be updated. Hats should finally be allowed to be worn in school.

There is no legitimate reason why students have hat restrictions. When asked, most teachers and faculty members mention possible gang references or connections. However, they often may ignore students wear headbands or bandanas, which also opposes the school dress code. Bandanas may just as often be worn to represent a connection to a gang.  If gang support was a legitimate concern, bandana restrictions would be as strongly enforced as hat restrictions.

Another possible reason that hat’s aren’t allowed in school is the traditional sign of respect, but taking your hat off as an honest gesture died years ago in the United States. Historically, it was a gesture of respect to take off a hat when in the presence of to authoritative figures in European monarchies such as England and France. That tradition has evolved over centuries. The rules were for men originally, since women were exempt from the societal regulations regarding hats. As for men, they were expected to take their hat off in the presence of women, greeting their employer, entering church (or other religious locations), and at home. These traditions were typically followed by those who chose to wear bowler hats and fedoras. It started to change in the 1960s, with a new counter-culture (hippies) and liberal ideas changing American perspectives.

In our school, majority of the students that choose to wear hats dress casually, so there isn’t much of a reason for them to be subjected to an outdated societal rule that was aimed at those who dressed formally.

Our American views have modernized and accepted hats as a display of culture and expression. Why haven’t school rules changed with the times?”

After posting a poll question on the online version of the Terrier Times, 76% of voters supported the allowance of hats being worn in school.  While there are teachers who strictly enforce the policy, there are various teachers who aren’t bothered with students wearing hats. In fact, many allow hats to be worn inside their class. As long as the student does their work, takes part in classroom discussions and activities, some teachers tend to not care about hats. 

Schools across the nation, such as Kelly Walsh and Seymour High (NY),  allow hats in the dress code so it appears we are starting to see a shift away from this restriction. Besides gang relations, the most popular answer for the removal of hats was respect. However, many seen it as petty, pestering, and hard to enforce since students often ignored such rules. . This  is parallel to the previous issue we had with earbuds. As a school, we were able to compromise for the allowance of headphones because of the vast number of students that use them.  Is it wrong to ask for the same thing to be done for hats?