The 1969 United States Supreme Court case
Tinker v. Des Moines
Independent Community School District dealt with student John Tinker being suspended from school for wearing a black armband in protest to protest the Vietnam War. The court ruled in favor of the student's freedom of speech. This case has been referred to for instances regarding a student's right to wear a hat.
refused to remove his baseball cap when asked by the superintendent. Pintka was walking from the school's cafeteria to his locker before the start of classes. The Tinker case was used to support the student's right to wear a hat.
The New York State Education Department Commissioner ruled in favor of Pintka and the school was ordered to adjust their policy to not completely ban headgear being worn outside the classroom.
"The issue is are we trying to enforce something that is outside the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court," said Conlon.
Still, some board members voiced their concerns about students wearing hats during the school day. Colleen Benedetto, board member, said students should be learning what proper behaviors are in school. Also, she said for security reasons students should have to remove hats. With hats, people could cover their faces to avoid being detected on school property if they shouldn't be on the grounds.
Conlon said he isn't sold on the idea of students hiding things in their hats because he said they are more likely to hide something in their backpack.
Conlon said having a Hat Day during school sends a contradictory message. On that day, a student pays a dollar to wear a hat on campus. The funds will usually go toward some non-for-profit group.
"Nobody disagrees with what the law says," said Conlon. "We are all trying to run our school in the best, safest and least destructible way possible. Sometimes the law doesn't pay attention to the real world."
CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this story the Tinker v. Des Moines Independent CSD Supreme Court case didn't have the correct date of 1969 and case information has been corrected.