Let Students Wear Hats

Stephanie Stiles

Admittedly, I have over 20 winter hats and have been anxiously waiting my arousing them from hibernation for the winter. However, many don’t share my enthusiasm for the advent of hat-season. The subject of hats is one of the most contentious debates in any high school, with students claiming hats are “freedom of expression,” and teachers and administration claiming hats are disrespectful. I firmly believe that students should be allowed to wear hats in school.
First of all, how is it disrespectful? I have searched all over the internet to find answers as to why hats are historically considered disrespectful, but all that I found was personal blogs claiming “the military doesn’t wear hats,” or “knights had to remove their helmets for the public,” or “the Bible says so.”
One: a school is not the military and it shouldn’t be treated as such. Two: who cares what knights did? If we want to emulate medieval Europe then let’s bring back a serfdom. Three: BHS is a public high school that in no way should enforce beliefs from any religion.
There are a few circumstances in which I believe hats shouldn’t be worn: in places of worship (unless a head covering is required), at mealtimes, during the national anthem, or if it is actually affecting or hurting someone around me. The first three circumstances have a bit more significance, especially when regarding symbolism and culture, so I can understand the banning of hats in these situations.
It’s also understandable if I’m wearing a pom-pom hat, or someone else is wearing a baseball cap, that is blocking the view of other students and we are asked to take our hats off. It’s annoying for both teachers and students to deal with that, that’s when people have to be conscious of their surroundings and assure they aren’t affecting others.
Then there is the argument that someone could hide something in a hat, whether it be drugs or cheat sheets. This logic doesn’t make sense, not because it couldn’t be done but because there are so many other ways to sneak in objects that don’t require perfectly straight posture and careful balance.
If my hat isn’t obstructing someone’s view, isn’t down below my eyes to avoid eye contact, and isn’t hiding anything inside, then I should be able to wear it in school.
I go to bed every night at 12:30 doing homework; I wake up every day twenty minutes late. I don’t have time to fix my hair in a way that you can’t tell I was running late. Hats allow me—and other students I’m certain—to cover my hair on these days of utter chaos. When teachers ask me to take my hat off I have to quickly find another way to fix my hair, which is difficult to do without a hair elastic or time to stop and put it up.
Barnstable High School has wonderfully uneven temperature control. One class can be a frigid tundra, while the next is a moist sauna. Winter hats, as they were invented to do, keep heads warm. If an environment is cold, why can’t we wear hats inside? It just seems practical. And they can actually be quite a fashionable way of staying warm.
People who wear hats shouldn’t be condemned as often as they are. How we act and react with people should be what determines our manners, not the adherence to a social standard that’s centuries old.