Philadelphia-Area Hoodie Ban Fuels Wild Brawls and 10 Arrests on High School Campus

A new policy banning hoodies and hats has rattled a Pennsylvania high school, prompting an out-of-control protest by angry students this week that led to scuffles and the arrests of 10 students. .

Just one day after the demonstration at Academy Park High School, the Southeast DelCo School Board held an emergency four-hour meeting – attended by hundreds of students and parents. – finally ended when members voted in favor of a total ban on hoodies and hats.

“Beginning Friday, November 4, students will be allowed to wear hooded sweatshirts during the school day,” a notice announcing the decision read. “However, the original rule not to wear hoods in district schools still applies. Failure to comply with this regulation will result in disciplinary action for each violation.

The statement added that the only exceptions to this rule would be religious or medical helmets.

” Hooded sweatshirts with hoods down may be worn and hats may not be worn over students’ heads while inside the building,” the statement added. “Consequences will apply to all students who fail to comply.”

A revised headwear policy was initially introduced at a Southeast DelCo school board meeting in early October by board member Sheree Monroe, but was not formally discussed until October 27. Monroe proposed a policy banning hats and hoodies effective immediately and “until further notice.” She also suggested that violators should be punished with a three-day suspension.

“Once the situation settles down, we can close the mission,” Monroe told the board on October 27, acknowledging that her son was also “a violator.”

Board members discussed students disrespecting staff, while one opponent of the proposal mentioned that the regulation could harm students who don’t have enough money to replace lockers in school year.

The Southeast DelCo School Board ultimately decided in an 8-1 vote to ban hoodies and hats in district classrooms, with the policy going into effect Monday, October 31.

By Tuesday morning, students at Academy Park High School were fed up. Based on The Philadelphia Inquirer, students walked out of the classroom to protest the regulation, and while the protests began peacefully, physical conflicts inside and outside the school ensued. Police were called in, and at least 10 students were arrested later that day, local news agency Philadelphia WPVI-TV reported.

The chaos prompted an emergency meeting on Wednesday, with hundreds of parents and students on hand to explain why the new policy was so hasty.

A father spoke of management not contacting him after reprimanding his son, who he said had a health condition, for not taking off his coat while going to school.

“Since when or who can go back and change the rules?” he asked, pointing at the school board as meeting attendees applauded. “Don’t go out to buy clothes for my son. You all don’t buy his clothes, shoes, anything. So how are you guys going to go back and tell him – in the middle of the school year – he can’t wear a hoodie? “

“Did you send a memo? No. Have you sent an email yet? No. Did you send a phone call? No. But you want to come back and [condemn] these kids for wearing hoodies,” continued the father. “What you should do from the start is have a dress code. “

One student told the council they were too busy and worried about the hoodies instead of the safety of students and teachers.

“We focus on hoodies, while we should focus on safety,” she said. “Hoodies do not jeopardize our safety. Student and staff and random people from DoorDash are coming in through the side door and we ban hoodies because we’re ‘unidentifiable. “

Another father told the board it had discredited the community.

“The message you sent is not clear why there will be a ban on hoodies,” he explained. He added that the board should have its own decision as the students should be held accountable for their participation in the previous day’s scuffles.

An Academy Park teacher also stated that the school board had other issues to focus on, like a shortage of high school educators that has forced substitute teachers to guide more than 400 students since then. from September.

After several speakers voiced their opinions, board chair Theresa Harris-Johnson proposed a vote to repeal the hat and hoodie ban.

“We need to come together, as a council, and discuss this situation,” she said.

Before the meeting ended, Monroe apologized to her students and asked parents to get “the paperwork in order” if their child had a medical need that required them to wear a helmet.

Neither the Southeast DelCo School Board nor the Academy Park High School board immediately responded to The Daily Beast’s request for comment Friday.

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