In reply to Sue Dieter’s “High school ban on hats is an unnecessary policy,” published in the July 27 edition of the Morris Sun Tribune.
To start, I find it very hard to believe you are unable to “find reason to believe that hats are detrimental to student welfare” or that you feel “it’s not a necessary policy, that it does really nothing, to improve the quality of education at the Morris Area High School.” Whether it is a biased opinion or simply your inability to see the argument from the obvious point of view, please read on for some clarification.
Principal Craig Peterson was completely right when he felt as hats were a respect issue within the classroom. Not only do hats alter the respect level within the school, but hats also potentially pose as a safety and security issue for the school itself.
First off, one of the most obvious reasons there was a movement to ban hats in school is due to the respect issue. What shows more respect to a teacher than when a student wears a hat with the bill down, shadowing their eyes, and taking a fast hour-long nap in class? Or when students pencil in answers on the bottom of the bill of their hat, allowing them to cheat, in order to pass the class they enjoyed sleeping in all year? Or how about when a tall student sits in the front of the class with the bill of his hat pointed straight up in the air, completely blocking the vision of the shorter student directly behind him. How is the “quality of education” for the student unable to copy down notes?
What about the students who like to take their hats off and play with them during class, periodically accidentally dropping them, causing a disruption for the entire class. For example, I could be sitting in the front of the class, trying to get the good education I am entitled to, and my peripheral vision would easily pick up someone on either side of me who is spinning their hat on their desk, resulting in the reduction of my quality of education.
As a recent graduate of Morris, I have spent my hours walking up and down the halls of the high school between classes. Probably at least once a week, I would see a group of younger boys playing “keep away” with another person’s flat-billed hat. It was not really to the point of bullying; rather it was merely a nuisance to my education. The kids blocked off most of the hallway, either standing, waiting to catch the hat, or running away with the hat. Of course, there were days when the kids would run into me on accident or the friends I was walking with.
Taking it further, hats, similar to electronics, are stolen too often. What is more fun than having your favorite $60 flat-bill hat stolen at school? Sure hats can be justified as a way to exhibit fashion, but they are a headache and hassle for other students, faculty, and staff.
Not only are hats disrespectful, but they pose as a safety and security issue. With the recent spike in school incidents around the nation, particularly violence, I am surprised you are in favor of allowing students to disguise themselves with hats. Cameras were installed around Morris Area High School as a security measure. They serve no purpose if they are unable to identify people. If students vandalize the school internally while wearing hats that alter their facial identity, the school would have a much harder time catching the culprits. Although extreme, hats have also provided a way to distribute drugs, as well as have allowed wearers the ability to easily bring in weapons or other illegal items into other schools in the past.
I know you are an active parent, so what would you do if a child of yours came home and complained about an F they received on a test, due to the tall guy who decided to sit in front of them while wearing a sombrero or any other hat? Would that come up at parent/teacher conferences? Would there be a phone call the following day? Or what if your child had something stolen, but cameras were unable to identify who the thief was, because he was wearing a hat? Although hypothetical, situations similar to those could arise, if they have not already.
The bottom line, if you are still unclear, is this: Hats are a distraction to teachers, as well as other students. They are disrespectful. For years, it has been common courtesy to remove a hat when inside a room. It is polite and one of the simple mannerisms parents should have taught their kids. The quality of education at Morris Area High School is superior, but with the removal of hats, it will only continue to increase, creating a more positive environment, one which students can thrive in. Isn’t that what you wanted?