Isaacs Comments on Hats and Other Dress Code Policies


Azra Emeksiz

We see that there are lots of people that are not following rules around the school. One of the common ones is not wearing hats, beanies, hoodie caps, etc. After spending seven months in the United States, one day while I was walking in the hallway, I saw a kid walking with his hat on, and a teacher after him, not even saying a word, moving his hands like he was taking off his hat.  In my country, Turkey, we always take our hats off in respect to the national anthem, but other than that, people can wear it inside of the school. I didn’t know wearing hats was not allowed per the dress code, and this made me wonder why? Why are we not allowed to wear hats? I had to dig into this topic to satisfy my curiosity. 

The Central Times staff invited principal Tim Isaacs to have a conversation with us about why hats are not allowed.

“[It’s] traditionally understood that you take your hat in the house,” Isaacs said. “It is a respectable thing. I would say with any dress code you take your hat off. It doesn’t matter what kind of dress code you could come up with, there is always somebody who is going to have a problem with that dress code.” 

Isaacs pointed out that a hat policy is likely to follow students throughout their lives.

“I’ll also tell you that no matter where you work, what you do there will be some version of accepted dress policy,” he said. “That may be incredibly loose, just depends on what you are doing.”

Isaacs gave an example from the building renovations that we see daily. 

“They have a dress code out here on this construction outside,” he said. “Helmets, etc. It is a protection thing, but it is still a dress code. When you step your foot inside the construction, there are proper shoes that you have to have on out there.”

Isaacs said he is very old school with hats. 

“Hats in the building is something that drives me crazy, because I am one of those guys who believes that you take your hat off in a basic sign of respect.”

To show respect is not the only reason why we can’t wear hats in school. 

“Also, there are some school safety things that are tied with hats,” Isaacs said. “It is hard to identify who you are. We have to know that.” 

During his career, Isaacs tried to find various solutions a long time ago, but because of changes in our school, his solution did not stay in there for long. 

“We used to have lockers, so if that kid wore a hat a couple of times, I would make him put it into his locker, but now I just take it and say that they can take it from me after school.” 

Wearing hats has always been a problem, and dealing with dress code problems is very tiring to Isaacs. 

“I am tired of pushing the limits. I get it. There is always going to be testing. That is part of growing up, but more hardcore pushing of limits is only going to make you lose stuff.” 

Even though he is old school with hats, Isaacs said, “I am willing to talk about things.” 

He has a different point of view for pajama pants next year. 

“I am going to talk to the council before we publish our dress code next year. We need an honest look about pajama pants. This decision has not been decided yet, but I am in favor of opening that door.”

There are so many times that we heard we have a dress code because girls’ clothes distract boys, but Isaacs is very against these thoughts. 

“It never came out of my mouth. If someone gets distracted by someone else’s clothes, that’s their problem.” 

Isaacs recognizes having a dress code as something necessary. 

“Imagine how our school would be if we didn’t have any dress code,” he said.  “Nobody has to agree with the things I say, but I think that’s what makes the world great. The thing that scares me the most about the world we are living in is lack of dialogue. Nobody wants to see the other side, nobody wants to have a conversation.”  

After having this question stuck in my head for so long, having a conversation with him explained everything. If you ever have a question that is stuck in your head like me, or you want to talk to Mr. Isaacs about the dress code, or anything else, don’t be shy, and stop him in the hallways, or visit his office. Isaacs is willing to help people to see the other side and share his perspective on things.