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January 15, 2011

No Steelers jerseys in Seattle school?

Yet another school-related incident to write about. Why do they keep giving me ammunition? (Whoops! Is that violent rhetoric I read?)

I've written about stupid school administrators and bad Zero Tolerance policies before, and you might think this is another one.

According to the Daily Drip (nice name!), a Seattle sports blog/news site, a middle school in the Seattle area has joined the ranks of Seahawks faithful while not allowing their students to like any other team. Or at least to demonstrate that like, anyway.

Truman Middle School decided to have a Seahawks Day, in honour of last week's (I assume, though maybe it's this week's?) playoff game, in order to show their Seahawks spirit. They would change the dress code for one day to allow students to wear Seahawks jerseys or paraphernalia instead of their normal school uniforms.

A kid decided he was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan (my kind of kid!) and wore that jersey to school instead. He was sent home for wearing "inappropriate" attire.

Now, given my response to the last time this happened (it was the last story in that post), you'd think I would be calling for the principal's head, right?

Well, you'd be wrong.

The school administration specifically stated that the only change in the dress code would be for Seahawks stuff. They normally have a dress code that requires a uniform, so this allowance was very specific. The kid who wore the Steelers jersey was clearly breaking that allowance, and was rightly sent home to change.

How is this different from the previous case I wrote about? I don't know if this kid was sent home for the day or just to change clothes, but either way, it's not different than the previous case. Both times, the schools made specific exceptions to the school dress code, and these kids violated the code by not following the exception.

So why did I blast the guy down in Louisiana earlier this year?

Because I was wr...I was wro..... ("Spit it out!" - The Peanut Gallery)

I was wrong.

If schools are allowed to have dress codes (and that's an argument for another day), then they are entitled to make their specific exceptions, as long as they are clearly spelled out in advance. In both cases, if the exceptions were announced quite clearly (Saints jerseys in Louisiana, Seahawks jerseys in Seattle), then the kids have no recourse if they decide to wear a different team's jersey. They were told what the rule was. They broke it. End of story.

If the school had *required* them to wear jerseys or other team clothing, then I would be shouting from the rooftops about it. But schools are allowed to enforce their own dress code.

I misread the story last year, thinking that the rule wasn't Saints-specific. In re-reading it today to write about the Seahawks story, I see I did the principal a disservice.

So my apologies for that.

The Seahawks are still going to lose this weekend anyway, so it's a moot point.


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