Letter to the Editor

To the Editor and WHS Administration, 

As a Justice Club at West High School – we discuss and promote issues of justice in our school and the wider community. One of the “laws” of West High School is no hats or hoods. Unequal enforcement of this specific rule leads to confusion, inequity, and injustice, and one can argue that rule is outdated and unnecessary. 

Some of the justifications that have been given are: hats and hoods make it challenging to identify students on security footage, they are considered disrespectful to wear indoors, and they are perceived as a distraction. However, when students wore masks for two years, identification was not an issue. The idea that hats and hoods are disrespectful is outdated and meaningless – it is rooted in an old European Christian belief system that does not represent our diverse student body. In a world of technology and copious distractions, hats and hoods are the least of our worries.

West already has a myriad of exceptions to the rule outside of poor enforcement. Exceptions: Spirit days, religious headgear, various educational needs stated in a student’s individual education plan (IEP), and when they can be worn if they were “paid for.” The justifications for the hats and hoods ban are weak at best.

Enforcement of this rule is spotty and often targets “suspicious-looking” people or students who may not feel like they fit in at school. This further alienates students who desperately need to be here at school and creates divisions within our student body. 

The different perspectives belonging to different staff members regarding the hat policy also create an atmosphere of confusion. Some teachers don’t care, others rigidly enforce it, and if the teachers aren’t on the same page, students shouldn’t be expected to be either.

The recent opportunity to pay for the privilege of breaking the rules shows that the rule is unnecessary and highlights how those with money don’t have to abide by the rules of our society. If rules are going to be made, they need to be enforced. In our building, even staff wear hats and hoods. 

The administration and staff at West have a choice, and you can either enforce this hat/hood ban with fidelity and consistency or eliminate it entirely. Remaining with this status quo just undermines the authority and cohesiveness of the school. We hope that, as a school, we can focus on things that matter. We are advocating for eliminating the hat and hood ban. We have much to overcome as a public school system – we need to focus on our primary goals of educating students for work and life. Let’s not fixate on minutia. 

Thank you for your time and consideration. We would be happy to discuss this issue further if you would like to meet with our club; please contact our advisor – Ms. Kupilik [email protected] 



West High Justice Club

Ary Hoeldt, President

Benjamin Moisan, Vice President