Violence in schools prompts restrictions on wearing hoodies

After recent safety bans on hoodies at schools nationwide, DVHS expresses its concerns on how such a ban would affect student life, including daily wardrobes and clubs, on its own campus.

West Monroe High School banned hoodies a few months ago; Uplift Community High School started a hoodie ban at the beginning of the last school year. This idea is not new. In fact, Oklahoma politician Don Barrington proposed a bill banning hoodies statewide in 2015 (the bill did not pass). So what exactly is causing the rise in these hoodie bans? 

The main issue is safety. 

After two hooded gunmen approached the campus of West Monroe High School, the school’s dress code was revised to help school officers confirm student identities and prevent weapons from being brought on campus. With the growing amount of school shootings nationwide, officials are becoming increasingly vigilant. Similarly, gang-affiliated hoodies have also become a safety issue, according to these schools. 

Although a hoodie ban has not been discussed by the administration at DVHS, most students heavily opposed a prospective ban.

In light of recent incidents within SRVUSD, such as the threatening messages written on bathroom walls at Coyote Creek Elementary School and Windemere Ranch Middle School, safety has become one of the district’s biggest priorities. 

“Unfortunately we live in a time where terrible things happen on campuses … I can understand why concealing one’s facial identity on campus is not okay,” assistant principal Charlie Litten said.

Despite this, Litten continued that safety does not “necessarily have a correlation with wearing a hood.” In fact, extending safety measures to include regulations on clothing such as hoodies has produced even more concerns.

Considering arguments that banning hoodies would make it more difficult to hide weapons on campus, students such as senior Chilsea Wang doubt their effectiveness.

“It’ll be easier to conceal something in a trench coat or some other outerwear than a hoodie,” Wang said. 

Similar to senior Wang’s perspective about the supposed dangerous use of hoodies, sophomore Crystal Wang believes that hoodies don’t change the motives behind these school incidents. 

“If somebody is going to shoot up the school, they’ll just do it; they don’t need to hide the gun,” she said, arguing that the hoodie is only becoming an object of blame as schools and parents panic over student safety.

Senior Wang continued that the search for a scapegoat can become a primary reason for these bans. “Whenever danger comes closer to us, people start using it as justification for increasing security, but we have to be careful with that, because sometimes when we try to increase security, we reinforce certain stereotypes.” 

In fact, junior Stephanie Su believes that banning hoodies diverts attention away from the underlying issues causing these incidents. 

“Constantly banning things like hoodies allows people to find more creative ways to conceal items without actually understanding the message,” Su expressed. “They see a trend in the people who try to commit such acts, like people using drugs, but they don’t try to attack the root cause.”

Furthermore, banning hoodies could inadvertently eliminate their beneficial influences. One of these positives is the sense of community it creates, specifically in teams and clubs.

As a member of the Dougherty Valley Speech and Debate team, senior Wang explains, “When everyone wears it together and goes to a tournament you can really feel like, ‘Ah yes, DV, we have hegemony, power!’ I think it does inspire us to do a little bit better at a tournament.”

Eshal Sandhu, a member of Connect&Compute, believes that if a ban were to be imposed at Dougherty, it would significantly affect non-profit fundraising organizations.

“It would surely be a huge barrier since so many people at DV either fundraise off of hoodies or are trying to create entire businesses off of hoodies,” Sandhu said.

When considering both the concerns that arise from heightened safety precautions and student organizations’ reliance on hoodies for fundraising, senior Wang believes that a ban is not likely to be implemented, however, she remains cautious of the prospect.

“We got to keep an eye on [the District]. But I think that if they did reinforce policies like the hoodie ban, there would be people who would speak out about it.”