By Cade Peterman
At the start of third lunch, roughly 11:20, I take my lunch and sit down, pull out my phone, open Facebook and start scrolling. I hear yelling behind me as a hoard of students gather around a fight. I ignore it. I feel something poking me when I lean back, and I notice the back of the chair is split in half. Two students sprint past me, yelling and throwing things. A few minutes later, I walk to the bathroom, opening the door only to be greeted by a thick cloud of cotton candy-scented vape, pawing my way along the wall, I try not to slip on the urine coated floor. A bit later, I get back to my table in the cafeteria and sit down. Then I hear an irritated hiss, as a ball of stray weave tumbles past on the dirty cafeteria floor, and Mr. Aguinaga says, “Okay, we’ve been through this before. If I have to tell you again, I’m keeping your hat until the end of the year.”
This school has rules for a reason. We don’t want this to be a lawless wasteland, and the dress code is one rule to help maintain order. Some of the things in the dress code make sense. We don’t want vulgar language on display, or people just showing up shirtless. However, the hat rule is one I will never really understand.
The dress code prohibits headwear that is not for religious purposes, but it’s rooted in the old, ‘wearing hats indoors is rude’ belief, which is very outdated and with no real basis, yet it still permeates our society.
There is no logical reason to ban students from wearing hats. In fact, it’s helpful to some. For me, they keeps my hair out of my eyes while I’m working, and they are often complementary to my outfit. For others, it may be purely fashion, but that’s not an excuse to ban them.
The school has all sorts of problems that actually affect our learning, such as the lack of any sort of air conditioning for a good portion of the school, or the ants crawling over desks. It is entirely wasteful and unnecessary to dedicate any resources to policing headwear.
A lot of staff don’t actually enforce, or care about the rule. I can count on one hand how many school employees I’ve encountered that apply this rule. Why go out of your way to confront a student that isn’t doing anything to disrupt his or her, or anyone else’s, education? You will only embitter them, which actually affects their education.
You may say that hats make it harder to identify people in security footage, yet its harder to recognize me without mine. This may be the case for hoods, because they hide more than the top of your head, but this is simply untrue for hats. And before you bring up the argument that ‘you can hide things in your hat,’ realize that you can also hide whatever it is you’re thinking of in your pants, or backpack, or under your shirt.
The only people in the school I can find that are against hats in the school are administrators. I have yet to find a single student that agrees with the policy, and very few teachers do. Journalism teacher, Tisha Pankop, has said, “it pains me” to enforce the rule, but she has to listen to her boss.
And on the confiscation of hats, what is the point? You wouldn’t confiscate a girl’s crop top, or another kid’s sagging pants, so why would you ever confiscate a hat? Nothing is accomplished. If a student didn’t listen to the rule in the first place, what makes you believe that they would listen after you took their property? There will always be more hats and nothing is accomplished by taking them.
All in all, the prohibition of hats is a pointless and wasteful effort with no positive results. Nothing good will come from taking a students’ clothes because you don’t like the way it looks due to the age-old, culturally unresponsive belief ingrained in our outdated customs. Being against hats is being against progress.