The No Hat Rule is Gone!


Michelle Nguyen

A student wears a grin of smug satisfaction as he sets to work while wearing a hat.

After a whole school year of consideration, you may now wear hats at school, whether it be in the quad or even inside the buildings and classrooms. The rule was mandated in an attempt to help identify students with the school cameras, but it was resolved that hats did not make a difference. Due to this change and the negative feedback from the students, the school decided to finally change this rule.

Last school year, students were not allowed to wear hats inside of the school buildings and if students were to violate this rule they could get up to a one hour detention on their first offense. According to the Wilcox High School vice principal Matt Kolda, “We got feedback from students and it was mostly negative, and it was generally the same group of people picked on.” In other words, mainly the same students got in trouble for wearing hats. After collecting data, the school saw that it was just as easy to identify a student wearing a hat than a student without one.

The school found the no hat rule to be unfair, especially when considering that every other school in the school district had gotten rid of that rule years ago. After testing throughout the school year, the administration office found that hats do not oppose a problem to identifying students but hoods to be a much more prominent issue. The reason this rule was very infamous last year was because there were lots of new faces due to the pandemic. Mr. Kolda says, “We had to identify students more than usual last year because everybody was so unfamiliar, [and] we had to use a lot of camera identification” After the previous year, the school no longer saw hats as a problem and started to consider the rule.

The official rule now allows teachers to decide whether or not they allow students to wear hats in their classroom. The reason for this is the fact that hats and hoods might be covering students’ eyes and ears in the case the student is off task and/or has earbuds in. Wilcox also takes lots of inspiration from other schools and how their consequence systems work. For example, Wilcox has worked on and tried to perfect their cheating policies for years. Our school looks at other schools’ policies and sees how well or poorly they are doing to try and decide on a system that works for us. 

The process to change this rule was complicated. For a rule to be changed the whole administration team has to sit in a room and discuss the pros and cons of last year’s rules and what should change. “During the discussion, hats came up a lot and the circumstances we were faced with last year,” Mr. Kolda describes. The school has changed rules in the past before and one of those had to do with identifying bullying. The issue was because of students falsely accusing each other of bullying. For this, there was a general meeting about it and after changing the rule, “you can see the changes in the rules reflected in the handbook,” Mr. Kolda says. 

As one of the biggest incentives to change this rule was that this school was the last one with a no hat rule, and this is still the first year trying to take the rule out. Regarding this concern, Mr. Kolda says, “If for whatever reason we find that we need students to have their hats off again because of whatever safety reason or whatever we might have to go back to it.” With all the positive feedback from students there is still a chance that the rule might come back.

Overall, this has been a success in the eyes of the school in the way that most of the feedback has been positive. The dress code at this school is very light and it isn’t strict. Without the hat rule, it is basically even more free for people to wear whatever they want. In the halls, in the quad, or the R building, students can now wear their hats freely.