School Bans Common Sense
March 8, 2004 7:21 AM   Subscribe

Bellevue school bans hats, hoods... In order to curtail unproven gang activity, Interlake High School has banned baseball caps, and the wearing of hoods, stemming from alleged gang involvement on the part of a few students. The faculty "believes" there to be gang actvity, and we all know that gangs require hooded-sweatshirt / ballcap uniforms, or you're out... Gang members can usually be singled out due to their poor fashion taste, but it has nothing to do with how they joined. This must be more of that freedom we North Americans seems to endorse so much...
posted by Dark Messiah (63 comments total)

 
I think someone missed the boat when they were informed that most criminals reside in "the hood".
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:22 AM on March 8, 2004


The wearing of a uniform eliminates problems such as this.
posted by johnnyboy at 7:27 AM on March 8, 2004


Yeah, but if I'm going to look like everyone else, at least let me do in the comfort of my brand-name knock-offs.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:28 AM on March 8, 2004


Man.. that happened years ago back when I was in high school.. if anything these folks are behind the times (albeit stupid times)...

Note: It was a high school in a relatively snooty/well to do Chicago suburb.. the thought of gang activity in our neighborhood was pretty funny..
posted by twiggy at 7:29 AM on March 8, 2004


I was in the U.S. Army and I had to wear a cap, and a hood when it rained... hmmmmmmmm
posted by LowDog at 7:29 AM on March 8, 2004


The wearing of a uniform eliminates problems such as this.
posted by johnnyboy at 9:27 AM CST on March 8


I agree.
posted by four panels at 7:35 AM on March 8, 2004


Next up: Look for gangs to be sporting umbrellas!
posted by SPrintF at 7:37 AM on March 8, 2004


Perhaps it was my rural North Florida upbringing, but we were NEVER allowed to wear hats or hood in high school. We didn't have uniforms, but hats were prohibited. I guess that was nine years ago.
posted by bmxGirl at 7:38 AM on March 8, 2004


Freedom? In school? What kind of dangerous hippie communist notion is that?
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:23 AM on March 8, 2004


I started high school about 10 years ago, and this had already been a policy for a long time. I'm sure we weren't the only school. Nothing new here.
posted by agregoli at 8:25 AM on March 8, 2004


And uniforms provide much needed work for Chinese textile companies.
posted by fenriq at 8:25 AM on March 8, 2004


I started high school about 10 years ago, and this had already been a policy for a long time. I'm sure we weren't the only school. Nothing new here.

First they came for the ... ehh, fuck it, why do I waste my breath? Nobody ever learns shit, the police state is a surprise every time.

Me, though, I don't think I want to live in a society composed of and ruled over by people who grew up thinking it was normal for the government to tell them how to get dressed in the morning.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:30 AM on March 8, 2004


The wearing of a uniform eliminates problems such as this.

The wearing of uniforms does nothing to stop gang activity. All it does is help move it twenty feet to the parking lot outside.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:31 AM on March 8, 2004


My (small town Midwestern) high school banned hats because of "gang activity" around 1995.

All us students summoned tremendous amounts of petulant adolescent incredulity. There was only one gang member in school. We were all thinking "we'd need at least two (opposing) members for this to be any kind of problem... wouldn't we?"
posted by cadastral at 8:32 AM on March 8, 2004


I don't think it's "normal," but it's the way it was/is. High school students don't have the same rights as grown-ups. That's a fact of life. I was merely pointing out that this policy isn't at all radical compared to other schools across the country. Do some research.
posted by agregoli at 8:34 AM on March 8, 2004


This must be more of that freedom we North Americans seems to endorse so much...
etiquette?...as mentioned above, when I was in "school no hats", except on "hat day". Then add back in the day most children wore what their parent gave them.
[remembers not being able to wear "jeans"]

The movie "Colors" helped promoting this look through America.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:36 AM on March 8, 2004


I love how they go out of their way to take care of a "problem" which has so far failed to manifest itself in any way.
posted by clevershark at 8:37 AM on March 8, 2004


...besides which, gangs are soooo late-eighties.
posted by clevershark at 8:38 AM on March 8, 2004


ditto agregoli. I went to high school 88-91 in FL and hats weren't allowed. Don't think it had anything to do with gangs, they just weren't allowed. Maybe it was from the days when people actually wore hats on a regular basis, but weren't supposed to wear them indoors?
posted by evening at 8:38 AM on March 8, 2004


I remember in HS (92-96) we couldn't wear hats. Or walkmans. We also were strictly prohibited from shooting our teachers/classmates.

Puritans.
posted by xmutex at 8:43 AM on March 8, 2004


hey, agregoli, when's graduation? (j/k)

/went to a big private school with a dress code (not uniforms) and no gangs.
posted by emelenjr at 8:44 AM on March 8, 2004


Back in my day it was the shirts with alcohol messages
and the pictures of a sex-crazed pitbull that were banned.

School administrators feared that if women saw these
shirts they would feel compelled to play pool with a pitbull,
get horribly drunk in a bikini and have sex with a dog,
any dog. Even a dog in a gang. Or, if you were to combine
the Corona shirts, a hispanic dog. Which was unthinkable.
To school administrators, I mean.

I think we all know the fallback from these shirts, and can
see the sense in banning children's eyes from them.

Chug a bear and chill. Let the children party dammit.
posted by Peter H at 8:44 AM on March 8, 2004


Hahahaha. I just wanted to emphasize that at the beginning of my high school years, this was policy. I guess I could have phrased it better. I am out of college a few years now.
posted by agregoli at 8:47 AM on March 8, 2004


[remembers not being able to wear "jeans"]
clarification: that was a school policy
posted by thomcatspike at 8:48 AM on March 8, 2004


This must be more of that freedom we North Americans seems to endorse so much...

So you guys think that we live in a "police state" because high school kids can't wear hats to class? Give me a break! School boards and administrators should be able to impose a dress code on children for whatever legitimate reason they see fit. End of discussion.
posted by Durwood at 8:49 AM on March 8, 2004


ditto evening. I've worked in high schools and middle schools and the no-hat rule had more to do with respect than any danger. Kids can pull caps down so that you can't make eye contact and can be quietly listening to a walkman under that hood.

Public school is not a democracy. It's a dress code. Get over it. Workplaces have dress codes as well.

I love how they go out of their way to take care of a "problem" which has so far failed to manifest itself in any way.


"In January, a clash between two groups of students at Sammamish High School, also in Bellevue, resulted in suspensions. Police believed some of the students had gang ties."

But of course I'm sure the police are just out of touch with their community, living and working there and all.
posted by archimago at 8:50 AM on March 8, 2004


Graduated in 1989. Hats, sunglasses, and clothing with the logos of beer brands on it were strictly forbidden.

"Certified Muff Diver" t-shirts were not.
posted by Foosnark at 8:56 AM on March 8, 2004


But of course I'm sure the police are just out of touch with their community, living and working there and all.

Then again, as the article states:

"No gang incidents have occurred on the [Interlake] campus this year"
posted by clevershark at 8:57 AM on March 8, 2004


...Police believed some of the students had gang ties...
Rep stripe or foulard?
posted by TimeFactor at 8:58 AM on March 8, 2004


the police state is a surprise every time

No police state here. Primary and secondary schools don't have only governmental power over their students, they have limited and temporary parental custody of them. They can tell you to do all sorts of things that the government can't make an adult do, but that parents can make their children do.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:04 AM on March 8, 2004


"Student appearance, the courts said, can be regulated if it is vulgar, indecent, obscene, insulting or if it carries a message that encourages inappropriate behavior."
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:11 AM on March 8, 2004


The funny thing about this is that it seems like they think they can stop gang activity by banning hats. Like there is some kind of causal connection between hats and gangs. Like if you stab a chicken in the eyes it will cure your glaucoma. Good to see we've moved back to the days of sympathetic magic. Does the Bellevue school superintendent live in a yurt or a lodge?
posted by Hildago at 9:19 AM on March 8, 2004


1955 -- high school principal bans popular "DA" haristyles and leather jackets, believing them to be related to unconfirmed "gang" activities.

Or maybe you never watched "Happy Days".

Plus ca change, mes amis.
posted by briank at 9:27 AM on March 8, 2004


"There was only one gang member in school."

Or maybe there were a thousand Gangs Of One.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:30 AM on March 8, 2004


So what about the baseball team?
/snark
posted by Feisty at 9:31 AM on March 8, 2004


> And uniforms provide much needed work for Chinese textile companies.

I have known several families of kids who had to wear uniforms, who made their kids' uniforms at home. Wound up with better tailoring than the storebought uniforms, too. Speaking as a male who had to learn pretty elaborate sewing due to belonging to the SCA, I affirm that it can be done--by either parent.
posted by jfuller at 9:33 AM on March 8, 2004


Like there is some kind of causal connection between hats and gangs.
Casual connection, where have you been?
Several "professional team logos" are used as acronyms for gangs. More so when embroidering was harder to find.
"LBC"
posted by thomcatspike at 9:33 AM on March 8, 2004


> The wearing of uniforms does nothing to stop gang activity. All it does is help move it
> twenty feet to the parking lot outside.

Exactly what we're trying to accomplish here.
posted by jfuller at 9:36 AM on March 8, 2004


I'm wearing a hat RIGHT NOW.
posted by Peter H at 9:40 AM on March 8, 2004


What if gangs started wearing school uniforms? What then?
posted by tpl1212 at 9:41 AM on March 8, 2004


Primary and secondary schools don't have only governmental power over their students, they have limited and temporary parental custody of them.

It's not even illegal in many states even today to strike a student if you are a teacher. They don't do it anymore, thankfully, but it's not because any laws have passed.
posted by archimago at 9:55 AM on March 8, 2004


Next up: Look for gangs to be sporting umbrellas!

They better not be bringing red or blue umbrellas to school!

I swear to high heaven, this war on gangs is about as idiotic as the wars on drugs and terror.
posted by squirrel at 10:09 AM on March 8, 2004


I went to Interlake for a year in 97/98. The policy then was no hats in class, but it is a fairly large campus of seperated buildings and not all of the walkways are covered. (You could get most places staying under a roof, but it was often a longer route.) And it's in Washington. I'm not a hat person, but I many students wore a hat or hood between classes when it was raining.
posted by Nothing at 10:09 AM on March 8, 2004


The wearing of uniforms does nothing to stop gang activity. All it does is help move it twenty feet to the parking lot outside.

Isn't that the real goal? After all, if nothing happens on school grounds we can pretend there is no problem.

But seriously, schools have had "no hat" policies for decades. Go ahead kiddies, ask your parents. Oh, and I went to a high school where you weren't allowed to wear any t-shirt that promoted, advertised, or depicted the use of tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs. The premise was that since it was not legal for any of us to be using such products, we should not be advertising it on school grounds either. Were my civil rights violated by this? No, not in the least.
posted by ilsa at 10:21 AM on March 8, 2004


I guess they did the classical error of confusing expression for cause ; uniforms can be a gang mentality expression, but are not cause of gang mentality. As XQUZYPHYR says the problem is not solved, it's only moved out of sight.

Imho one has to teach the kids to refuse and contrast any hypocrit or illogical (imposed or self-imposed) rule and not to fear questioning rules all the time, even when they meet strong opposition ; it's part of becoming a mentally balanced and sane adult, part of school and parents job.
posted by elpapacito at 10:40 AM on March 8, 2004


Damn--what if it's cold and you just need to wear a hat or a hood? The wind off of Lake Washington is a menace. I can see bowler hats coming back in, then milk bars, then... wait wasn't there a book and a Kubrick movie about this?
posted by josephtate at 10:54 AM on March 8, 2004


i went to hs in texas, also no hats were allowed and it had nothing to do with gang activity. just that people aren't supposed to wear hats inside. maybe this is a cultural thing.
posted by rhyax at 11:33 AM on March 8, 2004


you weren't allowed to wear any t-shirt that promoted
What about just plainly had: "a collar".
posted by thomcatspike at 11:37 AM on March 8, 2004


The funny thing is that Bellevue is primarily an upper-middle class neighborhood in Seattle Metro. hell, as of 2000, King County (of which Bellevue is a very prosperous member) had more millionaires per capita than any other county in US. As someone who has gone to a (different) public school in Bellevue, the only illegal activity I'd ever seen among my classmates was ubiquotous drug use (and we are talking rich white boy drugs here). Wrapping daddy's Lexus around a tree while stoned out of one's mind and what not. But gangs... it's a wonder to me that the words 'gang' and 'Bellevue' even managed to be mentioned in the same sentence (yes, I know, I just did it again).
posted by blindcarboncopy at 11:42 AM on March 8, 2004


I remember back in high school, a guy got sent home for wearing an "Adolph Hitler World Tour" t-shirt, and another guy for wearing a shirt saying "Smile If You're Not Wearing Panties."

The lesson here is that Nazis should wear underwear.
posted by jonmc at 12:02 PM on March 8, 2004


I graduated high school in 1991 (also in the suburbs of Chicago) and we were never allowed to wear hats in school...well, except for certain dress-up days during homecoming week. We also couldn't wear clothes with curse words on them, and the most controversial item...Bart Simpson shirts. (Yes, gang, back in the day he was extremely controversial! Now no one would blink at someone wearing a Simpsons shirt.)

This isn't anything new to me.
posted by SisterHavana at 12:02 PM on March 8, 2004


I remember back in high school, a guy got sent home for .... wearing a shirt saying "Smile If You're Not Wearing Panties."

If I'd seen that one as a high school girl, I would have laughed hysterically at that one. And no doubt been misunderstood.
posted by orange swan at 12:19 PM on March 8, 2004


Well if the dang gangs wouldn't be so gosh darned conservative, none of these problems would arise. If I was in charge of a gang, I would have a little fun with Detective Pat Arpin, Bellevue's one-man gang unit. It would be boutonnieres one week and beanies the next.

Checking K-Mart for Yellow suspenders.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:39 PM on March 8, 2004


First off, the comparison between public schools and workplaces is completely wrong, since we have the freedom to choose our workplace, but school choice is still only the privilege of the upper-class... given this, it should be the responsibility of the school to allow students to keep as much freedom as possible while not being disruptive. All I've seen are possible hindrences to the interaction between the teacher and individual student, but if they student doesn't want to learn, that's his choice, he'll just fail the class. Public schools should exist to offer education, not to shove it down peoples' throats.
posted by dagnyscott at 12:41 PM on March 8, 2004


It's also the responsibility of the school to keep your children safe. And if the school is acting under what it perceives as a threat to its safety, what's your argument with that? If other schools in the same area are having gang problems, what's wrong with proaction? Because this will never happen in their white neighborhood?

The comparison is not completely wrong. When you can afford to be your own boss, you can choose your own dress code. But most places of employement have a certain degree of propriety. I've worked in completely casual jeans and shorts-in-the-summer workplaces but you don't show up in a tank top or ripped jeans unless you want the boss to confront you about it. No place is completely without rules.


All I've seen are possible hindrences to the interaction between the teacher and individual student


And not allowing kids to wear hats in school impedes teacher/student interaction exactly how?

Parents don't send their kids to school with the understanding that the system is there to educate the student if the student should happen to want it. Part of being a high school teacher is to motivate a statistically umotivated demographic. Any high school teacher will tell you that. You think the parent blames the child when he/she fails? Spend a few days in a public school and you'll see parents blaming everyone down to the lunchlady for their kids not being motivated to pass a test.

And to put this in perspective, we are talking about hats and hoods here, not forcing the girls to submit to foot binding.
posted by archimago at 1:09 PM on March 8, 2004


Suburbs, and suburban schools, are rightly vigilant regarding gang activity. After all, no community invites gang activity or related maladies ... it just starts to happen. Alas, these days, it often happens out of the very noble and understadable desire of families to get their kids out of bad neighborhoods; unfortunately, sometimes they do it, too late, after the bad has already taken hold of the kid.

Tolerating public signifiers of gang activity really does help gangs get a foothold in a communities. Gangs are territorial and rely upon a projection of power; deny them any public expression of their presence, and they can't own their territory in a conspicuous fashion, nor can they assert any easily identified power.
posted by MattD at 2:06 PM on March 8, 2004


MattD, great observation.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:29 PM on March 8, 2004


The semiliterate assholes I work with think they're being cute by wearing lots of stuff in either bright red or sky blue, acting like a bunch of wannabee Bloods and Crips. To themselves, they think they're cool and tough, but to me they're a bunch of lemmings.

Man, that felt better. Been a long time coming, too.
posted by alumshubby at 2:33 PM on March 8, 2004


What if gangs started wearing school uniforms? What then?

Warriors... come out to play-ee-ay!
posted by Cyrano at 3:47 PM on March 8, 2004


Heh. In my part of the world, hats are now compulsory in schools. Swiss-cheese ozone layer, and all.
posted by Jimbob at 8:34 PM on March 8, 2004


School uniforms are common place here in the UK, to most people it is not a big deal. If anything it is often a relief to kids and their families who may not be able to afford the latest gaudy teenage apparel.
posted by johnnyboy at 2:22 AM on March 9, 2004


> Heh. In my part of the world, hats are now compulsory

On a certain message board where I hang out, tinfoil hats are compulsory.
posted by jfuller at 9:36 AM on March 9, 2004


Some of the kids at this school are going to think that they are the mofo don or some shit.

*At home in the comfortable suburbs*
Child1 - Yo! The mofo man banned peaks at school.
Child2 - Yo! That shit is wack.
Child1 - Yo, some niggas might die over this shit, son.
*Child1's mother shouts from outside room*
Mother - Dinnertime Timothy.
Child2 - I'm bustin' a move, see ya.
Child1 - Peace out son.
*Both exit to find mother outside door*
Mother - I put your socks in the wash.
Child1 - Damn straight, beyatch that's what yo fo. *sucks teeth*
Mother - Timothy, we've discussed this before, whilst you are in our house you use the English language like the rest of us. Remember, that allowance can be withheld.
Now go and tell your father it's dinnertime, he's outside power-hosing the pathway.
Child1 - *Rapidly losing faux-gangsta pose* No problem Mom, do you want me to set the table?

posted by asok at 10:42 AM on March 9, 2004


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