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How I came to wear a different hat

Charlie Connelly, Staff Reporter

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Before class was out of session for the holiday break, I originally created the idea of writing an opinion story that supported having hats being worn in during school hours. Frankly, I didn’t think the issue had any true magnitude behind it, but after having had an in depth interview with Assistant Principal John Passarella, my view on the subject changed substantially. What Passarella had to say really changed my outlook on the topic, and although hats are seemingly a small issue, there is really a lot more going on beneath the surface.

When I went in to interview Passarella, I had my entire story written up, and then, I saw that he was wearing a hat.  I honestly had no idea what to think other than the fact that I was a little off put and kind of curious as to why he was wearing the hat. I sat down, and as he was pointing at his hat, he asked me, “How does this make you feel?”

How did it make me feel?

I told him that it was strange to see him wearing a hat in the morning, and that it was possibly not professional as a principal of a school to wear a hat during an interview.

“Exactly,” he said.  What I had said was one of the main reasons as to why hats are not allowed to be worn during school hours.  School policy looks at wearing a hat as unprofessional and not representative of the school.

For what seemed like such a small issue, Passarella shared with me a variety of good reasons why hats should not be worn in the building, and now I completely understand what he was saying. Of course there are some very serious reasons, such as hats showing gang affiliations or inspiring gang related actions, since certain colors can represent certain gangs.  However, what really got to me in talking to him was what he had to say about respect.  Passarella said that the issue is not with the hats themselves, but rather than respect that’s shown when you take them off.

He told me, “There are a few reasons you would take your hat off.  One is because of something we used to call respect. I say used to because, whenever you entered any home, you would take your hat off. You walked into school, you would take your hat off, and that was just protocol. It’s all about respect, a feeling and a mood you create. I don’t know what it is;  it’s just protocol and the way you treat the environment you’re in.”

Considering my opinion going into the interview and what Passarella had to say about the issue, my view, was completely altered. Prior to discussing the issue, I would say my view on the topic was very uneducated, and I’m glad that I got a chance to get enough knowledge on the subject to reach a fair opinion on the issue.  Hats, although seemingly harmless to wear in school, have much more depth and meaning than what is commonly known and should definitely not be worn in the building. The gang affiliation risk that unravels with hats being permitted to every student is too high of a risk to take, which is reason enough as to why hats should not be worn. In addition to tangible reasons, the intangible is the overwhelming respect behind taking off a hat that should be taken seriously.

In retrospect, I regret what I thought about the issue of hats in the building before, but now I can gladly say that I fully agree with the rule in place: that no hats should be worn during school hours.

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Free of Bull, Full of Bulldogs
How I came to wear a different hat