Great Neck Problems: Middle Schoolers Lose their Moncler Hats

Only in Great Neck would middle schoolers be losing $350 hats


Lost Moncler hats, with prices reaching as high as $350 a piece, at North Middle has caused considerable upset within the community.  

Last month, administrators at North Middle sent out an email to parents about lost Moncler hats, acknowledging the hats as a fashion trend yet expressing concern toward the hats as a source of distraction.

“We understand that fashion is very important to our middle schoolers,” Nancy Gunning, assistant principal at North Middle, wrote in the email. “It has consumed a great deal of our time trying to locate these missing hats, and it has been disruptive to the students’ focus and time, as well.”

“Please try and redirect your middle schooler from wearing these hats to school. Students who lose or misplace these hats become very distressed and it has impacted their day at NMS.”

Such negative effects onset by the displacement of the hats were confirmed by students.

“I think that kids losing their Moncler hats is a distraction to the kids [at] school,” one middle school student said, who asked not to be identified. “The students would be more focused on finding their hats instead of focusing on school. It is also a distraction to the school because it is taking their attention away from more important things.”

Yet, it was not the distraction the hats created that generated backlash from the community, but rather the issues found with the school’s email itself. The response by both parents and students showed that offense has been taken to the school overextending its authority into their personal lives.

Parents began pushing back claiming that the school should not tell them what to do or how they should dress their kids. Similarly, students shared upset at the administration’s comment.

As described by student Valarie Varkonyi, “A lot of people were really upset about it,” and some students “took it as a joke [and] instead, more people wore those hats just to show that [the administration] can’t tell them what to wear.”

Seeing that the email was not effective in addressing the issue, the question of whether the email should have even been sent in the first place begs to be asked.

Parents who have purchased and given the $350 hats to their kids must have considered the fact that their children could lose the hats, and by giving the hats to their children, have reinforced the notion that such expenses are insignificant and that the hats can be easily purchased again. As such, it would seem that the email would be able to do little in actually changing those parents.

And so what had the email really accomplished? Neither students nor parents had responded as the email had hoped. In fact, it was pretty much counterproductive.

The email had instead garnered unwanted attention from outside parties and was reported on news sites, notable ones being the New York Post, Fox News, MSNZ and The Island Now.

“It reflects poorly on Great Neck,” said a middle school parent. “[It] highlights kids being too materialistic and spoiled. It’s an embarrassment to the neighborhood.”

To the dismay of this parent and other Great Neck residents, this is not the first time that attention has been brought to Great Neck’s consumerist culture. Many observers provided criticism that Great Neck kids need to appreciate what they have.

In March of 2018, the New York Times reported on North High’s desire to build a new parking lot on an unused athletic field and how many of its students drive luxury cars. Letters to the editors in response to the article were filled with disapproval of the students’ sense of entitlements and the parents’ condonation of such offense.

It is, however, important to recognize that while completely ineffective, the administration’s email was an appropriate reaction.

The email had brought awareness to an important issue and without any awareness, no potential solutions could have been found.

Perhaps instead of criticizing the school for their responses, people should reconsider the perspective by which they convey indulgence as these perspectives are reflected in their children. More importantly, they should ask themselves whether $350 Moncler hats should really be encouraged when many of the less fortunate do not even have the bare necessities to cloth or feed themselves.