Laura Ryle | Reporter
Avon High School recently made some changes to the dress code policy, which previously banned hats, durags, and hoods. Students are now permitted to wear hats and durags throughout the building without getting penalized. Hoods, however, are still prohibited.
Mr. Shockley, Avon High School’s principal, said the reason behind this change was to respect minority students’ culture by allowing them to wear durags and wave caps.
“The reason why students, mainly African-American males, wear durags and wave caps is to help create those waves in their hair, and personal appearance and style with the hair in particular is a point of pride and self-confidence,” Shockley said. “[Administration] thought through that and we felt that a culturally responsive type of response is that durags and wave caps are fine. If we were going to do that with durags and wave caps, then we should also allow hats in general.”
Shockley said that the response from these particular students on the new policy was positive, noting that they were grateful for the change and that they’ve been thinking differently about it all. However, after a school-wide staff survey went out when the policy was proposed, many teachers and other staff members expressed concerns on school safety, as hats could made a student unidentifiable.
“From my perspective, I believe that wearing a hat would make it easier to identify them. Not everyone’s hats are the same. Most of the time they’re unique and different, so it becomes easier to identify them when they have a hat on,” Shockley said.
While hats and durags can now be worn throughout the building, Shockley said that hoods are still banned from being worn because of safety concerns.
“When we are trying to identify students and are trying to get a sense of facial recognition, having a hood up makes that more difficult. A hat or durag does not necessarily do that. So in order to see students’ faces, [the school] will continue to enforce no hoods, whether it’s up part of the way or all the way, there are to be no hoods whatsoever,” Shockley said.
If the new rule on hats and durags increased students wearing them to the point of a distractions, Shockley said the new new rule might be reconsidered, however, he doesn’t see the influx of hats and durags reaching that point.
“I don’t believe that durags and hats have become a significant disruption where learning is being disrupted as a result of it. If it does become an issue, that is something administration will have to review and discuss,” Shockley said.
As for the political hats, such as Make America Great Again hats, Shockley said that administration would look into those situations and make a determination on whether or not they’re distracting or even offensive to other students, but does not see them as an issue as it currently stands.
“I see people wear MAGA T-shirts, and I have not seen that as a disruption here at school and it hasn’t created an issue. There may be people that disagree with that message and the political party it goes with, however, that is someone’s expression. Therefore, since the T-shirts aren’t a big issue, I don’t see hats being an issue either,” Shockley said.