Utah fifth grader successfully petitions to allow hats at his school

Feb 2, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: 6:22 pm

PLEASANT GROVE, UtahIf he could have it his way, fifth grader James Cope would wear a baseball cap every single day. From his favorite teams to his favorite city, there is no shortage of decorated baseball caps in the 10-year-old’s closet.

“I really like my hats,” Cope said. “I have one for my favorite baseball team — the Kansas Royals — and one for the Jazz. I also have one for Pleasant Grove.”

But walking into his elementary school with a hat on is something he could not do very often.

“We could only wear hats every Friday because of spirit day,” he said.

Manila Elementary School’s policy allows students to wear ball caps only on designated days, a rule Cope was not fond of.

“I thought it was unfair, and I didn’t see any reasons why we couldn’t wear hats,” he said.

So he started a petition with reasons why he believed students should be allowed to sport their favorite hats every day of the week.

“I think it will be better to wear hats because it will block your eyes from the sun,” Cope wrote in his petition. “In the morning when you are getting ready for school, you can just put a hat on so you don’t get to school late. Plus, you don’t have to worry about your hairstyle, you can just put a hat on your head.”

He waited near doorways on campus and stopped fellow schoolmates to explain his cause and collect signatures. After about a week, he successfully gathered 182 names and presented the petition to his principal.

“I was so impressed with all that he did. This was such a fun idea. He had worked with his teachers to come up with the format of how to write it and got his reasonings down and he even had in conclusion,” said Rachelle Spencer, principal of Manila Elementary School. “He is defiantly a young statesmen!”

Spencer said after reviewing his request, she was happy to change the rules on wearing hats during school.

“This was actually one of the easiest decisions I’ve made as an administrator,” she said.

It was an exciting outcome to a process Cope feels we could all learn from.

“Never give up. Keep trying and then you’ll meet your goal eventually,” he said.

The school, which has about 550 students, plans to kick off the change on Friday with a hat day. 

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Utah fifth grader successfully petitions to allow hats at his school