Hats Off to a New Year

Confusion Surrounding Staley Hat Policy

Landyn Goldberg

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Students have been seen wearing hats and beanies more inside the school, which has lead some to wonder if there has been a policy change. While the rule has not been changed, principal Larry Smith, Ed.D. said he would not rule out a change for the 2020-2021 school year.

“We’re always looking at all of our school rules and policies and evaluating them every year. I would imagine we would review that one, along with many others, this spring and summer,” said Smith.

North Kansas City School District has a set of dress code policies, which bans dress that “materially disrupts the educational environment or promotes the use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco or criminal or sexual activity.”

Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Perry Hilvitz, Ed.D., said most infractions are case by case.

“If it doesn’t have obscenity on it, and I say as a building administrator that it is still disruptive, I should be able to at least show you that in the past, what disruptions it has caused,” said Hilvitz.

Another reason the school does not allow hats is the secrecy of it. Administrators, like principal Larry Smith, Ed.D., have said students with hats on are harder to distinguish on security cameras.

“It is easier to conceal your identity when you have a hat on, especially from our camera system,” said Smith. “If you have a hat on, chin down walking through the building, they may not be able to identify who is under the hat.”

Currently, stocking caps and beanies are allowed to be worn in school because administration believes that, in contradiction to billed hats, a students’ face can still be seen.

“You can see them,” said Smith.

The camera systems are seen as a prime way to identify students who may be breaking school rules. However, junior Michael Saye believes hats don’t affect that.

“I understand their concerns with security,” said Saye, “but at the same time, it shouldn’t be that big of a problem.”

Saye said he has been told the security cameras are the reason why he cannot wear his hat. He believes that hats do not affect whether a camera sees a person’s face.

“They can make it to where it is not an issue. You’re walking through the school all day, and there’s cameras at every angle,” said Saye. “There is no way it doesn’t see your face at some point.”

Administrators overall goal for students is to keep everybody safe. Staley administrators would like to stop the issue before it even happens.

“You might say, ‘How many issues have we had?’ But even if you had zero, it only takes that one time when there is an emergency and you cannot identify people because they have impediments around their face area. You do not know who they are,” said assistant principal Kevin Kooi.

Overall, there has been no rule change about hats, but that could change in the future