Hoodies spark dress code controversy, policy necessary


Photo courtesy of Stillwater Area High School website

The district wide dress code sets the standards for a safe learning environment for all. This year, a new policy regarding hoodies was put in place.

Amy McElin, Online Editor

The absence of a hood or cap is often expected in public settings as a sign of respectThe topic of allowing teens to cover their head during school hours is an argument that has lasted for years. Recently, schools across the country have been making strides to work with students and create an acceptable dress code that satisfies both students and staff. This year, the dress code has undergone some new changes. Starting this year, hoodies will no longer be allowed during school hours. This provides a safer learning environment. 

In the past years there has been a new exception regarding the use of baseball caps and beanies. But, there is one piece of clothing that has yet to be permitted; hoodies. Due to the inability to see a student’s face while a hood is being used, they have been deemed unsafe.

When students wear hoodies, it can be difficult to identify who they are or if they attend the school. Staff must be able to see the profile of student’s face to ensure quick identification.

“Having no head coverings at school has been a long long tradition for very a variety of reasons from a safety lens,” Assistant Principal Shelly Phernetton said. “It makes it difficult for us to see who that student is if their head areas covered, and makes it difficult to quickly identify a student.”

The prohibition of hoodies provides a healthy and more focused learning environment. When hoods are present, it may encourage students to attempt to listen to music or zone out.  

“I think if people have a hood up, they can listen to music,” junior Meghana Acharya said. “It’s just kind of a distraction from the main focus of school, which is learning and I think any policy that tries to ensure that kids are performing to their best capabilities and getting the best education that they can is a good policy.”

Compromises have been made in the past. The school has shown a willingness to have conversations with students, this is an action that should be shown and encouraged. In recent years, staff has communicated with students and while doing so, made exceptions to the dress code that now allows the use of hats.

“Having no head coverings at school has been a long long tradition for very a variety of reasons from a safety lens.” ”

— Assistant Principal Shelly Phernetton

“There are a few understandings that we allow, because within our student body, we understand what’s good for kindergarten might be different for a high school student,” Phernetton said.

Many students regard hoodies as a comfy article of clothing that carries no significant consequences. If students have to attend school five days a week, some may argue they should have the ultimate decision regarding what they wear. In reality, safety is the leading cause for the code. The job of the staff is to provide a space where all students can feel protected, and in this case that includes the absence of hoods.

The hoodie policy is in place, primarily for the security of all students. When hoods are present, they detract from the learning environment that is carefully developed for students to receive the best education possible.