PARIS — Shaelyn Hanscom, Tiana James and Marissa Paine, who are students at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, lobbied the School Administrative District 17 board of directors Feb. 3 to change the district’s dress code to allow students to wear hats during school.

The three student council representatives were on hand again Monday night as the SAD 17 board voted to change the policy.

Students at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris — senior Shaelyn Hanscom of Norway, left, junior Tiana James of Paris and senior Marissa Payne of Paris — successfully lobbied the School Administrative District 17 board of directors to change the district’s policy that banned students from wearing hats at school.

At the first reading of the proposed change last month, three SAD 17 directors were against the policy change. That number grew to seven by Monday night. It was not enough to affect the outcome, as nine members of the SAD 17 board voted to change the policy and allow hats.

Some limits will remain. Specifically, no hats may be worn:

• During the Pledge of Allegiance, national anthem or other solemn moments.

• When a guest is making a speech or presentation on school grounds.


Teachers also retain the authority to ask that all hats be removed while students are in classrooms.

Director Scott Buffington Paris spoke against the change, saying it was about teaching kids acceptable and respectable behavior in public settings. He finished by saying how his father always told him to take off his hat.

Director Judy Green of North Waterford countered that when she was a student, she would have been expelled for not wearing a skirt to school but that times have changed. She also predicted that more than 50% of the adult males at the next annual town meeting will not remove their hats inside.

Director Barry Patrie of North Waterford agreed that cultural change is not a bad thing.

“I am a senior citizen,” Patrie said. “I’ve seen a lot of culture change in my lifetime. And I don’t see a damn thing wrong with this.”

David Dunn, a director from Hebron, said he has done some research on the matter.


Seven SAD 17 directors Monday night can be seen raising their hands and voting against changing the student dress code policy to allow hats to be worn in school. Nine board members voted for the policy change. Nicole Carter/Advertiser Democrat

“We were wondering why we don’t wear hats inside,” he said. “So I Googled it. The reason this first began is because people would come in from the trail. They would sit down at the table and stuff would fall in their plate. So they started to take their hats off at the door. I think that times have changed.”

In other matters, SAD 17 Superintendent Rick Colpitts explained how the district has been preparing for the possibility the highly contagious coronavirus reaches Maine.

He said SAD 17 is following the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention’s guidelines and will take appropriate steps as the agency advises.

The district is also planning to send letters to all staff members and parents with information from the Maine CDC.

Colpitts also explained that students have been planning and raising funds since 2018 for field trips to New York, Spain and France.

Ted Moccia, principal at OHCHS, said he is working with trip organizers to find out what options are available for students in light of potential travel advisories.

Spain and France are currently functioning under advisories and cautions that are similar to those now in place in the United States.

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