Sorry, kids. You’ll have to leave those Nats caps at home.
The Loudoun County School Board adopted a new dress code in late June that, for the first time, included a policy allowing all high school students to wear hats in class, among other changes. But on Tuesday evening, the board returned to the dress code to take another vote specifically on the hat issue.
Five board members agreed to reverse the board’s previous decision to allow hats. Those in favor were Vice Chairwoman Brenda Sheridan (Sterling), Tom Marshall (Leesburg), Eric DeKenipp (Catoctin), Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) and Beth Huck (At Large).
“I may be old-fashioned, but taking hats off when you enter a building is a sign of respect,” Turgeon said. “All the parents I spoke to were surprised that hats would be allowed.”
DeKenipp noted that security staff recommended forbidding hats because they make it difficult to identify students through the building’s camera systems. “It’s about security concerns,” he said.
On the other side of the argument, Jeff Morse (Dulles) added, “I support hats on.” He said several principals told him they felt comfortable with students wearing hats. “They actually believed that allowing students to wear the hats was a right that high school students should expect. That didn’t seem outside of the norm to me.”
The previous dress code that was on the books for years gave school principals a lot of leeway to determine what students could and could not wear. The new dress code is meant to provide a consistent policy throughout the county’s 90 public schools.
Although hats now are a no-go, the new policy does allow students to wear head coverings if worn for religious beliefs, as a matter of safety, medical condition, or in connection with a school-sponsored program. Students’ tank tops must now have at least 1-inch-wide straps. Students’ clothing cannot reveal undergarments, private areas or mid-drifts, and must be free of profane language and gang-related symbols.