Hats aren’t disruptive, directors say
Wearing hats and hoodies will no longer be prohibited in buildings in School District 191.
The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage school board was due to approve the final reading on Thursday of a policy change lifting the ban on headgear for students in the district. A first reading was approved on October 14.
District principals have wanted change for the past few years, a sentiment seen in other districts, said Dave Helke, principal of Burnsville High School.
The bans were born years ago out of fears that wearing a hat would disrupt the learning environment, Helke said in an interview. But that’s not the case, leaving no reason to maintain the ban, he said.
“I think, quite consistent with where we are at as a school district interested in really trying to honor and affirm each individual, it makes sense to also allow individuals to have that individuality and to speak out, ”Helke said.
It’s not just District 191 that comes to this conclusion.
“In the past, there was usually a fairly broad ban on hats and headwear in schools in general,” Helke said. “Just talking about being connected with other principals from other schools, I think you are certainly seeing this kind of blanket ban on hats and headwear revisited in a lot of places. It has definitely become something of a topic of interest.
Principals want the ban lifted because they don’t see a problem and “also to give some cultural acceptance to things like hoodies,” Deputy Superintendent Brian Gersich said.
Anna Werb, Board Member, said: “My child will be very happy to be able to wear a hooded sweatshirt. “
The district will maintain political language prohibiting objectionable items on clothing, such as obscene messages and words or symbols that encourage harassment, racism, sexism, violence and gang membership or affiliation.
“As with any type of clothing, we are not going to allow inappropriate hats or headwear,” Helke said.
District policy allowed exemptions from the ban for religious practice and medical situations such as chemotherapy.
Directors expected the ban to be lifted based on signals from the board’s policy committee, and recent enforcement may not have been as ‘tough’ as in the past. Gersich said.