Have I mentioned that we treat our school children as if they're not even human? Now it's Oklahoma City's turn.
Actually, that's a little mean. I don't actually have a problem with school dress codes, or even school uniforms. There are some restrictions on "freedom of speech" which must be imposed while a child is at school, or the primary function of schools couldn't be performed. So I'm normally willing to let those go. In this case, though, I think someone didn't think things through.
For those who won't click through the link, an Oklahoma City kindergarten required that student turn his shirt inside out because it violated a rule against clothing which supports any sports team that is not an Oklahoma college team. In this case, the Michigan Wolverines.
The reasoning behind the rule isn't even all that bad- though it goes back to the problem of restricting something associated with bad behavior, instead of fixing the bad behavior. In this case, the reasoning is that gangs in OKC were identifying by using sports teams (mostly professional, like the Oakland Raiders), and the schools wanted to tamp down on that. As far as it goes, that's really not that bad- Oklahoma college teams were exempted because "home pride," and otherwise it's a blanket ban.
My problem is two fold. First, and probably most important, is that it's exactly the kind of "no tollerance" policy which means that a kid getting beat up who defends himself will get kicked out of school. It leaves no room for "well that's just dumb" discretion. The second problem is that, as I mentioned, it doesn't address the problem, it just hides it.
The problem was never the shirts, or baseball caps, or whatever. The problem was gangs. Now, I'm not suggesting that you could simply say "Poof! No more gangs!" What I am suggesting, however, is that we start treating gang violence as what it is- violence in the name of organized crime. I don't care that these are "children." They're violent criminals who, for the rest of society, must be sequestered. It is not right to punish the innocent along with the guilty, and it is even less right to allow the thugs to continue to prey on the other kids in school.