Five-Year-Old's University of Michigan T-Shirt Breaks Oklahoma Dress Code
August 23, 2012
Cooper Barton, a 5-year-old Oklahoma boy, was forced by his elementary school principal to turn his t-shirt inside out because it fell afoul of the Oklahoma City Public Schools' official dress code.
But the logo printed across young Barton's shirt was hardly profane, suggestive or in any way racy.
The boy's crime? Wearing a University of Michigan t-shirt.
This isn't just about overzealous local pride, though. The school district's official dress code, devised in 2005, bans all of the usual suspects – everything from bare midriffs to "gang dress" to "obscene or vulgar jewelry." But also – nestled between barred items number 5 ("haircuts which display gang or cult symbols") and 6 ("Satanic cult dress") – is the curious outlawing of "clothing bearing the names or emblems of all and collegiate athletic teams (with the exception of Oklahoma colleges and universities.)"
Shannon Barton, Cooper's mother and a diehard Wolverine fan, doesn't get it. "It wasn't offensive. He's five," she told local news affiliate KWTV.
The dress code, created with the help of an anti-gang task force, and is now under review, according to a school district spokeswoman. The policy barring insignias stemmed from concerns that national gangs used sports gear as signifiers.
"When I talked with the Superintendent he absolutely had concerns about it and thinks it might be outdated," OKCPS Spokeswoman Tierney Tinnin told KWTV.
Unable to resist a jab, University of Michigan athletic director David Brandon has offered to send Barton a new t-shirt – one with the logo on the inside as well.
"What I want you to understand about this t-shirt is when you turn it inside out you get another Michigan!" he said at a press conference, eliciting much laughter. "So to hell with those people!"
What's your take on the Oklahoma dress code? What's the craziest policy you've come across? Leave a comment.