Hats and Hoods Off! It’s Time to Stop the Madness

Ibrahim Kaba, Staff Writer

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Among the numerous vices which plague schools in America such as profane language, bullying, cutting class, and fisticuffs there comes yet another vile crime that erodes the innocent minds of our curious youth: hat wearing?

Really, hat wearing? Something seems wrong with that.

The withdrawing of a hat in an indoor setting is fading out as proper etiquette due, in large part, to the fact that hat wearing has become accepted through a newfound sense of fashion and style, a style where a hat is not akin to a jacket or gloves, but is more a central piece of some young people’s outfits. People now see hats as expressions of their identity and they display them in the same manner they do with shoes. In most clothing stores it is common to see a whole section dedicated to hats and some stores even exist which sell only hats.

Schools seem to have a personal vendetta against hats for reasons that still seem unclear unlike those rules that govern hoods. Students use hoods to hide themselves from a teacher’s gaze, perhaps to enjoy a quick nap in class, so a ban on hoods makes some sense. In the MCPS rules, they do not explicitly state why hats are banned. Some think it’s because of proper etiquette, while others claim that hat wearing causes bad behavior in students. However, in speaking to Paint Branch Assistant Principal Mr. Hernandez, the primary reason for the hat ban is simply because they obscure a person’s features.

Mr. Hernandez explains, “It’s a safety issue with a building of 2,000 students. A hat or a hood would make identification of a student difficult in a crowded school such as Paint Branch.” What Mr. Hernandez is alluding to is that the cameras throughout the school allow administration to identify every student in case of an emergency situation, which is something that the school administration takes very seriously.

While it is understandable that school administration needs to be able to identify all of its students, the hat ban is a rare occurrence in other public spaces such as stores and government buildings. Airports, where security is of the utmost priority, do not ban hats outright, but do allow airport screeners to examine an individual with headwear. Seeing how Paint Branch is not attempting to prevent terrorism, the ban is unnecessary.

Contrary to the emphasis by school administration for ease of identification is the fact that bandanas and scarves which cover the head are banned, but that rule is not as strictly enforced as the hat ban.

Unfortunately for administration, students will continue to push the envelope on hat wearing in school. The truth is, it is a fashion element for many teens and the idea of not wearing one’s hat on a given day is the equivalent of not wearing shoes. No matter the reason for the ban, some students will continue to wear hats and hoods, much to the annoyance of the school staff and administration.

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Hats and Hoods Off! It’s Time to Stop the Madness