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.'”
Even though the ban on non-Oklahoma college teams is temporarily lifted, the district's dress code still prohibits gang displays, Board Chairwoman Angela Monson said.
An evaluation of the code is a good first step, said Brady Henderson, legal director for the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
“I applaud the action of the superintendent, and I also look for an opportunity for groups like the ACLU to look at these policies in the future,” Henderson said.
In other business
Angela Monson was acknowledged for the recent announcement that she is one of seven 2012 inductees into the Oklahoma African-American Hall of Fame.
The board also awarded several contracts, including $2.5 million to Carrier Enterprise for heating and air supplies, $1 million to R.B. Akins Co. for heating and air supplies, $1 million to Siemens Industry for heating and air supplies and $1 million to Microage of College Station for whiteboards and software.
Also, All About Travel received a $1 million contract for travel agent services; Springall Travel was named the alternate vendor.