Morris Hills Implements a No-Blanket Measure

Christopher Tava, Copy Editor

Synonymous with virtual learning was showing up to zoom class in pajamas, half-wake, with a blanket wrapped around you. Although blankets are nice in a cozy room at 8:00 a.m., they can become dangerous in an in-person school setting, as administrators here at Morris Hills have deemed. Thus, they decided to institute a no-blanket policy for the school, which started in the second semester.

In banning blankets, Dr. Toriello, principal of Morris Hills, said that the school acted under “the umbrella of safety and security” and considered a multitude of factors when making the final decision. One factor, or “prong,” as Dr. Toriello put it, was that Morris Hills did experience an incident where someone tripped and fell from a loose blanket. Another “prong,” which was considered with consultation with the school Student Resource Officer and other police officers, was that blankets could easily conceal firearms under a blanket. Although Dr. Toriello recognizes that one could conceal a firearm in an article of clothing like a sweatshirt, he also notes that banning blankets can “take something out of the equation” in terms of protecting the study body. Finally, blankets could be considered a violation of the dress code if worn like an article of clothing, and the school has the authority to prevent such violations.

In terms of implementing this new policy, Dr. Toriello said that although blankets were something always on his radar, he was waiting to make a change in policy at a “natural break” during the school year, which was decided to be the start of the second semester. Dr. Toriello also noted that he plans to revisit the school dress code and other policies over the summer, with the goal of explicitly banning blankets and avoiding any ambiguity for students.

This no-blanket policy is no exception to the larger trend occurring nationally. As examples, Huron High School and Utica High School in Michigan have modified their rules to remove blankets from their schools, as reported by their respective student newspaper websites. In a similar fashion to Morris Hills, these other high schools have considered blankets as safety and security hazards.

When asked about the implementation of a no-blanket policy, junior Ujwal Thirunagari comments that he “does not mind its addition” because he sees the policy as being enacted “in the interest of students.” Physical education teacher Mrs. Moncalieri adds that “people [were] using blankets to cover up what they weren’t supposed to wear,” referring to students covering up dress code violations with their blankets. Mrs. Moncalieri also believes that the policy was enacted for the students’ best interests and agrees with the policy’s implementation. 

Although Dr. Toriello understands the difficulty of change, he would like to commend the student body on following the new policy diligently; he has only had to speak with one student about not bringing a blanket into the school.