Hate for Hats and Hoods

By Connor Considine

Throughout high school, “Put your hood down,” or “Please take off your hat” have been common sayings. But why? Mission statements from the school do not give an answer to this, the closest to one being that they may provide a risk in woodwork and labs. Which does not excuse the other examples like class or lunch periods. 

Students of HHS are annoyed with the rule and the lack of explanation for it. 

One student, who prefers to stay anonymous, said the following, “I’m always told to take down my hood every period. But if we have masks, why do we have to take off hoods or hats? I respect the rules but I don’t understand what the problem is with a hood or hat.”

When asked what they’d do for a solution, they said, “Maybe if they explained it I would understand it but they don’t”.

So clearly students dislike the rule, or at least the context of the rule. But what about the administrators? They would be the best people to talk to about why this rule is here. So I got an interview with one of the deans, Tom Kempf, to see what the school is doing about it.

“It’s twofold: The hats and hoods rule is an old school and traditional rule when entering a building, like when you enter that building you take off your hat as a sign of respect. And more importantly for us, it’s about safety and security, so if something is going on in-camera, we can identify a person and they can’t hide behind a hat or a hood,” Kempf said.

He also commented on the nature of the less socially able, or those who like to stay more secluded.

“… Accommodations are made for needs like medical needs such as genetic disorders or hair loss in general, and they work with deans and student services teams to do that so I think that with the right approach, modifications could be made if needed,” Kempf said.

Staff, including deans and principal Belin, are very open to solutions. 

Kempf has disclosed that he spoke with Belin about the dress code and whether or not it is time to change the rules and talk about it.

The rule relies widely on security incidents and being able to identify students, but there are ideas of compromise. Belin and the deans have talked about letting go of the rule. So I thought of a good compromise that lets students keep their hoods up but doesn’t risk major security breaks, base the rule on the warning system the rules establish greatly.

So how this would work is there would be a punishment if enough detentions, referrals, or warning levels were reached. The punishment would either be to not bring a hat or during colder seasons, be asked to put it in a bin. It would basically be a mix of the phone punishments and the final punishments we usually have at the end of the year. It would be a good incentive to follow, in my opinion, far more appropriate rules.

He also mentioned that students are usually the first step in changing these rules, so whether you agree with my solution or not, the only way to change the rule is to speak up.