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March 25, 2023

Student group pushes to lift long-standing hat ban

A student advisory committee at San Benito High School is hoping to lift the campus ban on hats and made a pitch to the district board Tuesday.

The item was on the agenda as a presentation and information item, while the consideration could come back at a later date for possible action.

Students Faith Fernandez and Ramon Delgado led the presentation for the Dress Code Student Advisory Committee, according to a report prepared for the meeting. The agenda report notes that the hat ban has been in place for more than a quarter century.

“As a student body, we recognize and respect the rationale for why this policy was put in place in the early 1990’s,” according to the PowerPoint presentation. “We also recognize that school culture, revolving around hats, has evolved in the past 25 years. We want to support maintaining a safe and inclusive school environment. However, hats no longer present the same issues that they did 25 years ago.”

The students’ argument revolves around the ideas that hats provide protection from the sun, they allow for freedom of expression, and they’re a means of showing school spirit. Sun protection was listed as the most answered reason for wearing hats around campus.

Students have tried to have the policy reversed on at least two other occasions, in 1993 and 2017, according to the agenda.

Survey results were also included in the reports that showed 93.5 percent of students favor allowing school-approved hats and 71.2 percent of staff did as well. It also noted that two nearby schools, Christopher High and Salinas High, also allow hats under certain rules.

Some of the initial administration team feedback included:

  • If the change occurs, it should be implemented gradually.
  • Maintain a ban on hats indoors.
  • Any policy change needs to be inclusive of all groups
  • There continues to be a gang-affiliation presence in the area related to hats.
  • They add easily recognizable, identifying features.
  • Hoods are what make a person hard to identify.