Why are students not allowed to wear hats on campus and in class?

Kelly Polacheck, Staff Writer

The rule that bans the wearing of hats in Austin ISD schools is a constant source of controversy between students and staff. Many students on campus wear hats in spite of the rule, and get told to remove them as they walk through the halls or sit in class.

Students often do not understand the rationale behind this rule and are left questioning and challenging this rule almost everyday. Students get different answers every time they question these rules. Some teachers say it is a matter of respect. Some administrators say it is a security issue. Junior Chance Burrow said that while he acknowledges the concerns of the administration, he doesn’t think that they are entirely sound. He said that not all hats hide people’s faces and some of the reasoning is too old-fashioned.

“Normal snapback, 5 panel, or baseball hats don’t cause security issues because they don’t hide the identity of any person,” Burrow said.

So what is the real reason for the no hats policy? To try to find out the real answer, The Eagle’s Eye interviewed Principal Brandi Hosack to ask her what her take is on this controversial rule. Our interview follows:

The Eagle’s Eye: Some say that it’s about respecting the school. Some say that it’s about security it being something that obscures identifying traits. Now some students just have a hard time understanding why, and it doesn’t seem to have one fixed answer. How would you respond to this?

Brandi Hosack: Because it’s all of those things. First it’s a district policy for there not to be hats on campus. It is deemed as disrespectful to be inside any sort of building that exhibits professionalism, and hats are not allowed. Our teachers don’t wear hats unless it’s part of a uniform and so like you know when you see police officers in hats or when you see ROTC in their hats, that’s part of their uniform. But it is deemed disrespectful, and if anyone knows anything about me I’m very much old school in that way to where we’re going to be respectful of our teachers and of ourselves. I want teachers to have your full attention.

EE: Some students and teachers say that wearing a hat on campus makes it hard for security cameras to find identifying features on students. Is that true?

BH: But in addition to that, it is easy for students to hide behind a hat. It is easy for students to let’s say, God forbid, I have a fight occur out here: hats are on, I’m not able to to identify a perpetrator. You know I’m not able to identify who is on camera if they unfortunately do something that they shouldn’t be doing. So it is a safety issue. It’s hard to tell a student that goes here and somebody from off the street that could just walk in and had a brawl in a hat. And so it is absolutely a safety concern. .

EE: A lot of students feel a lack of mutual respect when they feel that a rule is arbitrary. What would you say to students that feel as though their questions aren’t taken seriously?

BH: I want you to know that there is not a single rule on this campus that I don’t have a reason for doing it. And I’m happy to discuss those rationals and not just to put rules out there to make your life harder. There’s always going to be a reason for the things we do and feel free to ask why. It is a completely legitimate question to ask why.