Aug. 22, 2012 at 1:29 PM ET
While parents of middle school and high school students struggle to find appropriate and affordable school clothes, one Kindergartner in Oklahoma got in trouble for wearing a modest football jersey. Five-year-old Cooper Barton showed up to his very first week of school in his Michigan Wolverines shirt. Not so fast, little guy. Non-Oklahoma team gear is prohibited in Oklahoma City public schools. So instead of getting friendly with glue sticks and safety scissors, Barton was asked to turn his shirt inside out. Apparently Kindergarten in Oklahoma is rife with gang violence and this boy was showing his colors.
According to WXYZ News, a gang task force helped the district develop its dress code standards in 2005. While students are not permitted to display anything with out of state or pro logos, they may wear branded apparel from the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, or any other state school. While gang affiliation through clothing cannot be tolerated, we’re talking about children who are still tempted to eat the paste and smell the markers, not run drug deals.
Barton’s parents, who are enthusiastic Michigan fans, plan to consult with the school board. Chris Barton told NewsOK, “I understand there are gang colors. I understand that. But there’s got to be some sensibility about a 5-year-old wearing a Big House T-shirt. I’m pretty sure he’s not a gangbanger.”
Are you sure, Mr. Barton? Because your son looks like a menace. Next thing you know this trouble-maker will be tagging his nap mat and using ring-around-the-rosies to jump classmates into his gang. If he isn’t stopped your boy could wreak havoc on the 405. Chicken nugget dealing alone could pose an extreme threat to students and faculty alike.
Superintendent Karl Springer released a statement to NewsOK saying, “As when any policy is questioned, OKCPS administration will review the policy to determine if changes need to be made.”
Oklahoma made national news earlier this week when a Prague, Oklahoma high school refused to release the diploma of its valedictorian after she said ‘hell’ in her commencement address. What is going on down there? Could this be drought related? Sooners, relax. Use some judgment. In this particular case, did no one ask himself what would be the point of humiliating a Kindergartener in the first week of school?
Also, that’s not graffiti those little kids are drawing, it’s stick figures. Chill.
Elsewhere in Oklahoma, Tulsa Public Schools adopted a required uniform policy in 2011. That seems safe. To date, khaki has yet to be embraced by any organized criminal groups—unless you count Enron, Bernie Madoff, and all those sub-prime mortgage lenders.
Have the Oklahoma City Public Schools gone too far? Do you think they should change their dress code policy?
Lela Davidson is the author of Blacklisted from the PTA. Her writing is featured regularly in family and parenting magazines throughout the United States and Canada. She blogs about marriage, motherhood, and life-after-40 at After the Bubbly.
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