FanDuel - WFBC

January 15, 2011

Boy Sent Home for Wearing Steelers Jersey: A 13-year-old Washington boy who wore a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey to his middle school's Seahawks Appreciation Day was sent home by school officials. "Not everyone is a Seahawks fan," said Grendon Bailie to explain his attire. "This boy came in a different color, a different team, and he was asked, if he didn't want to participate in the Seahawks colors day, then he could wear his [school] uniform," said Tacoma School District spokeswoman Stacy Flores.

posted by rcade to football at 10:09 AM - 24 comments

Wow, that's a lawsuit waiting to happen.

posted by jmauro2000 at 10:12 AM on January 15

Don't we get one of these stories every year?

posted by yerfatma at 10:39 AM on January 15

/Shrugs. Our school does the same thing, only for the Twins. Though I don't quite get the sending home aspect- we've had this come up in the past and just make them wear a different shirt or toss him a uniform polo shirt to wear.

posted by jmd82 at 10:52 AM on January 15

That's the thing. You can't deny an day's education and send the kid away over a jersey. Just re-tog him.

They will probably catch national flak for this and wish it had never happened.

posted by beaverboard at 11:01 AM on January 15

This kids parents are morons. Way to teach him. "Just do whatever you want son, we'll back you up. You don't need to follow the rules." It was real easy...Seahawks or uniform. Now the kid and his dumbass parents probably ruined it for everyone else.

posted by cheemo13 at 11:15 AM on January 15

If one of my sons wanted to intentionally break a school rule because he thought it was unjust, I'd allow it as long as he was aware of the potential consequences.

Allowing one team's NFL attire while banning the others is a silly rule. I'm glad the school is taking some flak for punishing him. Another story says he had the option of changing and staying.

I hope the Steelers do something nice for him.

posted by rcade at 11:53 AM on January 15

There's a great quote from one of the Bailies in that link: "I don't plan on calling the ACLU or suing or anything. That's ridiculous. What we're trying to do here is poking a stick at the Seahawks fans who have given us so much grief over the years."

posted by rcade at 11:56 AM on January 15

From the story: Seahawks shirts or colors were the only exception allowed outside the uniform school's normal strict dress code

It's really no big deal. He was out of uniform. He gets sent home.

posted by graymatters at 12:00 PM on January 15

Yep, there's no lawsuit there. It wasn't "NFL appreciation day" or "team spirit day," it was "Seahawks appreciation day." The kid knew what the day was about and knowingly and willingly violated it. To those thinking that it's a first amendment issue, should he have been allowed to come to school in his favorite NBA team's jersey? Silly rule or not, it was the rule. Many would argue that the dress code itself is silly. Would they encourage their child to violate it every day?

"What we're trying to do here is poking a stick at the Seahawks fans who have given us so much grief over the years."

Yeah, it sucks to have suffer the taunts of the mighty Seahawks simply because you jumped onto the bandwagon of the most successful team in the league. Poor, poor, Steelers fans have to suffer through so much.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:57 PM on January 15

Would they encourage their child to violate it every day?

No, because the consequences would likely be permanent suspension or expulsion.

Even though this is a public school, I don't see any chance of a lawsuit. School administrators have broad latitude in their ability to set rules, particularly if they can make the argument it was to prevent disruptions.

posted by rcade at 02:51 PM on January 15

At the school I work at, we sometimes have homecoming week special events.

For example, there is "sports day." You can wear your team shirt, or the school uniform. You can't wear other things.

There is "nerd day." You're encouraged to dress like a character from 'Revenge of the Nerds," or the school uniform. You can't wear other things.

There is "hat day." You're encouraged to wear a hat with your school uniform.

On Halloween, students can come in costume or in the school uniform.

If this school had Seahawks day and the choice was to wear a Seahawks shirt or the school uniform, well, I don't know that I have an issue with that.

posted by Joey Michaels at 03:34 PM on January 15

Here's a similar deal that happened among adults.

posted by beaverboard at 04:35 PM on January 15

I'm not sure how people are so sure this is permissible. They are allowing students to express their views only if they agree with the administrators. Schools have broad latitude, but I think this is unacceptable. I should hope the school board or someone brings some common sense here. It's sports here, but would everyone would be okay if they said you could skip the dress code if you wore something that supported the Democratic party only?

posted by bperk at 08:42 PM on January 15

Politics /= sports.

posted by Joey Michaels at 08:46 PM on January 15

Here's a similar deal that happened among adults.

That story is incredible. I can't believe they can get away with that.

posted by bender at 09:22 PM on January 15

It's sports here, but would everyone would be okay if they said you could skip the dress code if you wore something that supported the Democratic party only?

Here? Yes.

posted by tselson at 09:31 PM on January 15

Here's a similar deal that happened among adults.

That story is incredible. I can't believe they can get away with that.

The fan is lucky he wasn't tossed from the game. The key line of the article is:

Whereas other North Carolina fans in the lower bowl were not required to move, Bauman said he relocated Demery because the seats directly behind the Virginia bench usually belong to athletic department staffers. In this case one of those staffers gave their tickets to to a friend who then sold one to a scalper, enabling Demery to purchase it for $100.

If you purchased scalped tickets, and the arena/stadium finds out that those are scalped tickets, then they can deny you entrance (or ask you to leave), with no compensation. It's written on the back of almost every ticket sold.

That NC fan should be happy that they only moved him to another seat.

posted by grum@work at 12:12 AM on January 16

I'm with bperk and have to wonder if there is a free speech issue at stake here in reverse - ie the school is saying you are free to express yourself thusly on this particular day of the year, but only if you believe in this one prescribed way. Otherwise no free speech for you!

posted by MW12 at 08:07 AM on January 16

Here? Yes.

Well played.

posted by rcade at 08:21 AM on January 16

If you purchased scalped tickets, and the arena/stadium finds out that those are scalped tickets, then they can deny you entrance (or ask you to leave), with no compensation. It's written on the back of almost every ticket sold.

I've never noticed that on the back of a ticket. Scalping is not selling a ticket to someone else -- it's selling a ticket for a markup. Sports teams actively support fans reselling tickets these days on their web sites.

posted by rcade at 08:26 AM on January 16

Politics /= sports.

The first amendment doesn't apply only to politics. Schools still have to make an argument as to why they are limiting free speech, and it is usually something about causing disruption. In this case, allowing variances from the dress code only for a specific message is suspect.

As an aside, how people are okay with this sort of groupthink and forced conformity is beyond me. Schools (and definitely parents) should be teaching kids to question this sort of thing, not swallow it whole. But, kids can't even question the authorities in something as innocuous as not allowing kids to show their appreciation for whatever sports team they choose.

posted by bperk at 10:38 AM on January 16

So, bperk, then I guess I'd pose the same question to you that I asked earlier. Would it have been o.k. for him to wear a different sport's jersey? NBA or NHL? Or, if he's not into sports, a concert t-shirt from his favorite band? He wasn't compelled to wear Seahawks gear; he could have worn clothing in conformance with the dress code. The options were made clear before the day of the event.

We agree that the school has the right to create and enforce a dress code, correct? If the school chooses to create an exception from that dress code, they pretty much have the right to make that exception as narrow as they would like; the children always have the option of not participating in the exception as it was made clear by the school. There's no sort of compulsion going on here; nobody told him "wear Seahawks gear or don't attend." They said "wear the required uniform, or if you want to participate, you can wear Seahawks colors."

As an aside, how people are okay with this sort of groupthink and forced conformity is beyond me.

Do you mean the dress code or the spirit day? Honestly, I agree that it's silly of a school to only allow the local team's gear. But being silly doesn't equate to being unconstitutional. And calling it "forced conformity" is just a bit over the top, no? The day was completely optional.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:57 PM on January 16

If the school chooses to create an exception from that dress code, they pretty much have the right to make that exception as narrow as they would like; the children always have the option of not participating in the exception as it was made clear by the school.

I don't agree that is true. The school can't just limit free expression because they prefer the Seahawks. That's just ridiculous. The reason that schools are able to pass dress codes is because they prevent disruption. The school can't seriously make the argument that Steelers jerseys are disruptive but Seahawks jerseys are not.

It is most definitely forced conformity. You can express your appreciation for your preferred sports team only if it is also our preferred sports team. If you don't prefer the same sports team as we do, then you are required to wear the uniform. That's just complete bullshit. Calling it optional doesn't make the message the school is sending any better. This is a special day for only those that agree with us.

If the school is going to disrupt the learning if they are not happy with the team that one of the children supports, then they should just scrap the stupid exception and everyone should wear their uniform. Otherwise, they need to chill out and remember why they are there in the first place.

posted by bperk at 01:39 PM on January 16

If the school is going to disrupt the learning if they are not happy with the team that one of the children supports, then they should just scrap the stupid exception and everyone should wear their uniform. Otherwise, they need to chill out and remember why they are there in the first place.

First, I guess that I should make clear that I completely agree with you on this point. I just disagree about your assessment of the legality of the whole thing. I've studied quite a bit of First Amendment law and coercion case law, and I just think that this one falls short of the standard the Court has set. Objectionable, yes; illegal, I don't think so.

I also think that calling it "forced conformity" is off the mark. I certainly think it tends in that direction, just that the phase you used blows it out of proportion. I think you nailed it with "groupthink." But nobody "forced" this kid to wear his Steelers shirt, and nobody "forced" him to exchange it for a Seahawks shirt. He had the option to participate or not, and he chose (a) to not participate, and (b) to violate the dress code.

posted by tahoemoj at 02:09 PM on January 16

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