Oklahoma City superintendent temporarily lifts sports apparel ban

Oklahoma City Superintendent Karl Springer announced to the Oklahoma City School Board that all college and professional apparel will be allowed at district schools that don't have uniform policies for 60 days while a committee evaluates the policy. The board met Sept. 10.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: September 10, 2012
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The superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools has temporarily lifted the districtwide ban on college and professional sports team clothing

The ban will be lifted for 60 days, while a yet-to-be-formed committee will look at the issue of gang apparel and team logos.

Controversy about the ban was sparked last month when a kindergarten student was asked to turn his University of Michigan T-shirt inside out.

Cooper Barton, 5, is a kindergartner at Wilson Elementary. He violated a policy that allowed only Oklahoma college apparel.

The University of Michigan athletic director later invited the student and his family to attend the Michigan-Massachusetts game Saturday.

The policy only applies to the four high schools and 13 elementary schools that do not have a uniform policy.

All middle school students wear uniforms.

The district dress code was last updated in 2005 in cooperation with the Oklahoma City Police Department Gang Task Force, Springer said. The update was done as a response to national concerns about gangs using clothing from sports teams as membership identification.

“Gang warfare in this district in the early '90s was life-threatening,” board member Jay Means said at the meeting Monday night. “ ... First Amendment rights don't apply to someone walking into a movie theater yelling, ‘fire.'”

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