It’s time to change the outdated hat rule

Students deserve respect to make choices that pose no harm to others


Ethan Smale

Senior John Adkins often wears a hat to school, only to be told to take it off when he arrives.

Ethan Smale, Editor in Chief

Over my several years in the public education system, I’ve been told I couldn’t wear hats or hoods while in school. Every time I was told this, I was given different reason as to why this was the case. Many teachers said it was for the safety of the students to make sure the cameras could see faces, while others would claim the act of wearing a hat was disrespectful. Either way, this reasoning is outdated, and hypocritical in most instances, and should inspire a long overdue change in the dress code.

In order to fully understand this issue, we need to take a look back and rewind time. As ridiculous as this may sound, we must take this age old tradition back to the medieval times. This is because the origins of this commonly known policy was created for knights, as they would take their helmets off to indicate friendliness toward others upon entering a building.

With this being said, it’s pretty clear that this is somewhat of an ancient tradition that for whatever reason has stuck with us in today’s society. Unfortunately, the average person doesn’t walk around with a sword by their side and I’d go as far as to say just about everyone doesn’t have to alert people that they are friendly whenever they enter a building. So, while this may be a sign of respect for old people, in the modern age the thought behind this has become obsolete.

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Should students be allowed to wear hats in school?


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Let me illustrate my point. Two years ago, when I was a sophomore, Arrow alumni Evan Gray and Collin Fox stopped in to say hello to our staff, and shared their first-year experiences at Grand Valley State University. When asked about their favorite things about college life, I’ll never forget Evan’s answer: “Honestly, one of the best things is that we can wear hats to class.” We laughed, but Collin added: “Seriously. You have no idea how nice it is that we’re respected as adults, and we can wear hats if we want. Sometimes you’re just having a bad or stressful day, and it’s nice to have the option to throw on a hat before heading off to class.” This little story shows that respect can go both ways, and in this case, there’s no harm to either the students or the university–just a simple acknowledgement of respect for students.

Of course, the other big reason given for the ban on hats is to maintain security and safety in the school building. However, this is incredibly hypocritical as our school allows, and even used to require, wearing masks inside the school building. This would cover the identity of a dangerous individual much better than a hat, and yet this was perfectly fine for the school given the pandemic. This illustrates the fact that the “safety” wasn’t a true priority, and seems like another excuse to enforce an outdated rule.

The more likely reason the ban on hats is still included in the 2022 dress code is because school boards and administrators are holding on to outdated social norms. It’s time for schools all around the country to get rid of this prehistoric idea of respect, and see it now as a fashion choice to boost students’ confidence.