West Orange students plan ‘protest against Durag’, says principal

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Some students at West Orange High School are reportedly planning to protest the school’s ban on wearing durags on Friday. But although they are “acting in good faith”, they face an uphill battle, according to their manager, who says he will not bend over the issue.

Principal Hayden Moore released a statement ahead of the protest, explaining the school’s reason for banning durags and emphasizing that “this is not an issue I will compromise on.”

Moore’s full statement follows below:

“As Principal of West Orange High School, I work every day to make our school and our community the best it can be. We are a proudly diverse and inclusive community, we lean into every opportunity to embrace our differences and to ‘offer dignity and decency for all, and we value all members of the community and gladly listen to the chorus of dissenting opinions.

“Students who wish to stage a protest against the school’s ban on durags and other items of non-religious head covering are acting in good faith and with a sincere desire to express themselves through their attire. I want you to please know that we consider input from our stakeholders and review our handbook annually, making sure to improve our policies and update our handbook over time.I am committed to listening to student suggestions with respect. However, as Director, I am responsible for making the final decision on whether or not we choose to adopt the suggestion and it is not a matter on which I will compromise.

Dress codes exist to signify that the school is a space for professional learning that deserves respect. Our policies are in place so that we can all focus on strengthening the academic focus and engagement of our students. We set the highest expectations for learning, behavior, Durags and other non-religious head coverings are not aligned with the professional appearance we promote to our students and therefore , are not permitted as part of our school day wear.

“While we believe there is a time and place for such head coverings, almost every organization has some sort of dress code policy. For the vast majority of job opportunities, even for our students who are working part-time now as well as for their future employment before and after college, durags, beanies and baseball caps are not considered work clothes. ‘adults, we want them to watch the game for the leadership positions we prepare them for in college, the military, business, law enforcement, real estate, the professions medical, engineering, education, or office work, our students know that these professional work environments would rarely consider non-religious headgear appropriate. , engineer, banker, teacher, or architect wearing one of these headgear at work. Of course, there might be a time and place where people in these professions might choose to wear a durag, but that wouldn’t be in a professional setting. Obviously, most would never wear a durag to a job interview. Again, it’s a matter of time and place and the classrooms at West Orange High School are not the appropriate setting.

“When it comes to culture, I agree that durags, baseball caps, beanies, shower caps can be part of our cultural expression, but so can ties, suits, polo shirts and jackets. “Black culture has always infused, created and popularized a variety of fashion items and we value this freedom of expression. We deserve recognition and are proud of all that we have contributed to global fashion. But Again, not everything we wear is appropriate for a serious high school learning environment.

“I understand the complications that some students experience due to medical issues or other hair issues. We have occasionally allowed head coverings when used to avoid personal embarrassment due to a medical issue and have exercised our power discretion to allow a student to wear headgear for the day. We respect the dignity of all our students and recognize the need to be flexible at times when standing firm could result in humiliation. Students are, after all , all of our children, but this planned protest is not about such a case and we will continue to uphold our standards regardless of any protest that may arise.

“We work every day to help our children grow into responsible, respectful young adults who leave our care ready to succeed in the path they choose, and that preparation includes setting and maintaining standards that encourage them to present professionally in all settings.

“Mountaineers, please note that this topic is simply not open for discussion. Students who come to school in durags, baseball caps, hats, beanies, shower caps, balaclavas, or any other non-religious headgear shall have such items confiscated and subject to discipline.”


Not everyone agreed with Moore’s statement, which was posted on social media. Seen online:

  • “Explain how ties and polo shirts express culture.”
  • “So it’s okay to wear pajamas and onesies and slippers and crocs and sweatpants to school, but it’s not okay to wear rags and hats and beanies because that is not “professional”… of course.”
  • “To suggest that this topic is not up for debate is so counterintuitive to the issue of where you want students to behave in school. If students are expected to act like adults in the workforce at school and then be belittled and treated like children, it’s fair Are we children or young adults? Either way, fostering healthy school environments requires debate and everyone’s opinion The parties involved.

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