Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

No Hats Allowed

Some schools have banned hat-wearing in an effort to increase safety and respect. But not all students are happy with the rule

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If you go to a Winnipeg high school, you're probably familiar with certain rules about school attire. One commonly debated rule some schools have adopted is known as the "No Hats" rule, which prohibits students from wearing any headwear (excluding hair accessories) inside school facilities.

This rule was created to ensure the safety of students, since some gangs use bandanas and hats of various colours as "tags," to show which gang they belong to.

"In schools, safety is a key [issue]," said Carolyn Lintott, Assistant Super-intendent (Curriculum) for the River East Transcona School Division. "If students have no headgear, you can see the type of hair, colour and their facial features better. If you need to be able to describe them for any reason, it is easier to do so."

Also, some teachers believe wearing headwear inside the building is disrespectful. "Teachers find it generally easier to maintain contact with the group when hats are not worn," she said.

There are exceptions to the rule, according to Lintott, such as a student who has lost their hair due to chemotherapy, in which case headwear would be allowed.

But many students have grown tired of or angry about the rule.

"I don't approve of the banning of hats, bandanas, and certain colours in my school. What you wear is what makes you an individual, and disallowing people to wear certain things limits their individuality," said Jenny, a Grade 12 student at Grant Park.

"I think the hat banning rule is pointless," said Roman, a Grade 11 student at Gordon Bell. "There is no way of consistently enforcing it in a public school."

"I can see the point of not wanting hats to be worn during class time, but [in] the hallways, I think hats are just a fashion statement that people should have the freedom to take part in," said Scott, a Grade 11 student at Transcona Collegiate Institute.

"The hat rule is a futile effort in security. Are we to assume that [when] students do not wear hats, [we] are safe?" asked Michael, a Grade 12 student at Grant Park.

But at the end of the day, a rule is a rule. So when they say "home is where you hang your hat," consider that might mean school, too!

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 13, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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